Burning wood residuals when cuttings down and forest cleaning, 2005 - 2009

Violations: Articles 26 and 27 of Belarus' Specially Protected Wilderness Territories and Sites Act, Article 55 and 63 of the Forest Code of the Republic of Belarus; the environmental balance within the protected forest, and damaging the biological diversity.

Events, facts, documents and evidence: Ecological patterns and modern advanced achievements of wilderness protection science are ignored. Conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable development of forest ecosystems are not seriously taken into consideration. Ecological-friendly technologies and methods of the forest management that are in balance with the forest environment at which the recognition of Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a World Biosphere Reserve and as a World Heritage Site are not applied. The situation is even getting worse as the low culture of works conducted by the big temporary staff and its unprofessional job level that is inadmissible within especially protected natural areas.
(This was described in details on the earlier pages, such as "Large-scale cutting of forest infected by Bark beetle, 2001 - 2002", "Continuation, 2003" and "Continuation, 2004)".

Burning wood-cut residuals, brushwood and dead wood is one of the violations mentioned above.

Our information. Special, ecological-friendly methods of the forest management which do the least damage to the natural processes and the minimal harm within an ecosystem and for biodiversity at Specially Protected Natural Territories (SPNT) should be adapted. That includes specific zones in which the management regime allows the appropriate economic activities. NO HARM should be the main rule for unique natural ecosystems, such as Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

Burning wood-cut residuals, brushwood and dead wood does much harm to the forest ecosystem. Wood-cut residuals and dead wood make the environment for the plenty of small biological species. Researches carried out in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in 1990-s unequivocally proved that preservation of wood residuals, in particular those in heaps, is very beneficial for the forest. They become some kind of stores and refuges for predatory insects, soil-makers and other useful animals. Being rotting through, they enrich the ground with humus. Burning of dead wood and wood-cut residuals deprives many living organisms of their natural environment. After burning big black stains of the burnt out humus and firebrands remain to be on the ground. They keep in the soil for decades and even for centuries. Besides, young forest generation and plant seeds in the letter burn down everywhere and in abundance on such the places. Trees are also damaged by fire.

With relation to preservation of the biodiversity the burning wood-cut residuals is allowable but on a very limited scale. The point is there are species of insects, in particular Capricorn beetles and Ground beetles, which live and develop in wood damaged by fire. Therefore it is necessary somewhere to burn that to maintain their populations, although it will damage other components of the ecosystem.

In connection with aforesaid, today the rules of the ecological-friendly forest management in the part related to the cuttings down define preservation of wood-cut residuals even in timber enterprises. Burning of them is allowed on a very limited scale when there is a critical need, for example, to get warm from fire for woodcutters in the winter period.

Unfortunately, this kind of the progressive and ecological-friendly practice is completely ignored by the management of the national park over the last decade. Moreover, employees of forest areas were punished for non-burning of wood-cut residuals.

According to some information, the situation concerning non-burning of wood-cut residuals is improved in the national park within the last 2 years. The management is now already not so strong to burn wood. However, it is early and yet impossible to make the conclusion about the essential qualitative changes in the management practice regarding the observance of this ecological rule.

The photos below show the plots where wood-cut residuals are saved (it is the right way).

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(Wood-cut residuals are saved; compartment 801, November 30, 2008)

The photo below shows the plot where wood-cut residuals are saved in the most part and only one heap was burnt (it is allowable).

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(Wood-cut residuals are saved in the most part; compartment 798, September 13, 2005)

These photos show the plots where wood-cut residuals are completely burnt (it is the wrong way).

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(Wood-cut residuals are completely burnt ; 1 - compartment 801, November 30, 2008; 2 - compartment 778, November 3, 2005; 3 and 4 - compartment 798, September 13, 2005)