Oct 13, 2020
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Will the president’s ban stop forest poachers?

Will the president's ban stop forest poachers?

President Vladimir Putin has banned the export of unprocessed timber to other countries.

According to the head of state, the uncontrolled export of wood needs to be put up with a "hard barrier".

"I am instructing from January 1, 2022 to introduce a complete ban on the export from Russia of unprocessed or rough, only for the type of processed timber of coniferous and valuable deciduous species," the president said at a meeting on the development of the Russian forest industry.

Experts have been waiting for this decision of the president for 14 long years. In 2006, the next Forest Code was adopted, which, according to officials, was supposed to save forest plantations from complete and final destruction. It was assumed that the land will now be leased out to private lease and the new owner will take care of the well-being of his property. Experts shouted at every corner that the new legislation, implying the actual departure of the state from the industry, would simply finish off the dying forest. The industry workers themselves - engineers, rescuers, gamekeepers and foresters - staged protests, and in the State Duma the Communist Party faction even decided to vote against the code. But the forces were unequal.

Since then, the powers to manage forest resources, control and oversee their use have been assigned to regional administrations. Forestry enterprises were liquidated, and together with them 117 thousand foresters were dismissed. These are the same people who were responsible for their part of the forest, wrote out orders for felling, allocated forest mows for hay. Residents of villages and villages, in turn, were obliged to look after the plantings of a young forest, mow clearings from weeds and do many more useful things. Therefore, it was the forestry enterprises that guaranteed order in the forest. When they were gone, order also disappeared.


“The forest was cut down, taken out, burned, hiding the traces of crimes. The responsibilities for the protection and reproduction of forests were simply forgotten. The main thing is profit, and at least the grass won't grow there, ”recalls biologist and activist of the Green Movement Arseny Kuznetsov.

“We were driving from Finland, where there is a huge forest area and a small population, and we were met by a truck after a truck with our forest ... to Finland,” one of the defenders of the forest writes in social networks.

A rare inhabitant of the Far East and Siberia has not seen trains loaded with wood on their way to China.

“Here you are, you look at the passing trains of seventy cars loaded with a bar, and you grit your teeth. And when you think that one car of a bar is three carriages of round timber, in general, hands reach for the pitchfork ”- this is another opinion.

Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko proposed to suspend the export of timber abroad.

“What are they doing with this forest? Under the guise of sanitary protection of the forest, massive deforestation is being carried out. Who cuts wood, where is he chasing and third - how is it sold? " - the speaker of the upper chamber asked questions and noticed that the entire forest industry is "ruled by the criminal shadow sector."

According to her, no one controls the tenants who received forests in the 1990s. Then Matvienko proposed to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to urgently prepare bills to combat illegal logging and export of timber from Russia. But this initiative remained unheard. And last year, the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, speaking in the upper house of parliament, said at all that there is no need to introduce a ban on the sale of timber abroad, since the share of roundwood exports is decreasing every year.


Now, after the President's speech, Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko announced the need to link all the timber traffic chains in a single state information system.

“The system should record the movement to production and sales, including export. If at any subsequent step the system does not have confirmation of the legality of the origin of the wood, transactions are blocked, the legality is not confirmed, the sale of wood is impossible, ”she said.

At the same time, the Deputy Prime Minister noted that it takes a little time to completely ban the export of timber.

“So that small companies, for which the forest is the only source of income, have time to come out of the shadows and, with reasonable government support, be able to start processing timber,” Abramchenko said.

This is probably why the export ban has been postponed for almost a year and a half. Can you imagine how much forest will be destroyed by cunning entrepreneurs during this time? Someone believed that they would look for ways out of the shadows? Or will they rush to cut down the forest with trebled energy in order to fill their already tight purses?

Meanwhile, many experts consider the measures to be insufficient. We are talking about untreated wood. Will the sanded logs, beams and planks remain suitable for export? Then the Chinese will put sawmills all over the Far East and will now export sawn timber, and after processing, only waste in the form of twigs, chips and bark will be added to us, ”suggests Arseny Kuznetsov. According to experts, it is necessary to prohibit the export of all timber semi-finished products, but at the same time to allow the export of finished wood products. Only then it will be possible to say for sure that the Russian forest is at least somewhat protected from the barbaric felling for sale.

Natalia Purtova.


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