Forestry Agency of Primorskii Province sold protective forests for logging

On February 16, in spite of protests of WWF Russia and local people Forestry Agency of Primorskii Province held an auction where plots of protective forests were sold for logging.

By unknown reasons the auction took place two days before preliminary gazetted date. “Maternity hospital” for the Amur tiger in the wildlife refuge Tayozhnyi, goral habitats in the wildlife refuge Chyornye Skaly, unique Korean pine stands in five Korean pine nut harvesting zones of Primorye with one of them in the Bikin River were sold by the auction. Federal wildlife refuge Leopardovyi declared in October 2008 has avoided selling due to timely interference of the Nature Recourses Ministry and Ecology.

Like last year, a contract for forests protection, maintenance, restoration and selling in 12 forestries of Primorye in 2009 will be signed with the only claimant – governmental structure “Primorskii forestry enterprise”.

At the same time, facts given in the WWF’s report show that the enterprise ant its contractors in reality held illegal loggings disguising them as tending cutting.

“Having adopted decision to sell plots in protective forests to “Primorskii forestry enterprise” Forestry Agency of Primorskii Province has turned a blind eye on the enterprise participation in illegal logging, - comments Denis Smirnov, forest program coordinator at WWF Russia Amur branch. – Probably, Forestry Agency has weighty reasons to once again give green light for dishonest forest users.”

WWF addresses law enforcement bodies asking to admit invalid decision of Forestry Agency of Primorskii Province to place orders for forests protection, maintenance, restoration and selling in 2009 as such activities will favor new round of illegal logging in Primorye.

For additional information please contact

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Elena Starostina, press-officer (WWF Russia Far - Eastern Branch),
tel/fax: +7 (423)241-48-68, сот. +7 (904)628-92-66, e-mail
 

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