Russian forest rangers, police and NGOs in joint actions against illegal logging
Illegal logging of valuable hardwoods has reached crisis proportions in the Russian Far East, and WWF estimates that twice as much oak was logged for export than was authorized for harvest by the government in 2010 alone. This is why WWF specialists, forest rangers and the police recently joined forces in a joint action against illegal logging in the Southern Khabarovsky Province.
The forests in this region are among the most biodiversity-rich in Russia, and the Khor Basin supports many of the few remaining Amur tigers. Some forests in the region are under intense pressure from illegal logging of valuable hardwoods and the protected Korean pine. Illegal logging of mature, nut-bearing Korean pine and Mongolian oak trees degrades the food base on which the food chain from ungulate to tiger relies.
Logs loaded on a truck were confiscated by police after WWF specialists linked them to a nearby illegal logging site by comparing the shape of log ends to the shape of stumps on the logging site. An illegal log landing was discovered containing 545 oak, ash, linden and spruce logs on the territory of a forest leaseholder. Tractor tracks led to a nearby stream valley where the trees had been illegally logged. All the timber was confiscated.
The group also investigated a site where planned "selective sanitary logging" had raised suspicion. Amongst several criminal activities , they discovered illegal logging of large, export-quality trees as opposed to the low-quality material permitted for harvest. Four criminal cases were opened based on the observed violations.
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