Large-scale cutting of forest infected by Bark beetle (2003), continuation

Infringements: Clauses 25 and 27 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus «About Special Protected Natural Territories and Objects» are violated; violation of the ecological balance within the protected forest; infliction of damage to biological diversity.

Events, facts, documents and evidences: In the earlier section "Large-scale cutting of forest infected by Bark beetle (May 2001 - December, 2002)" is has already been shown that the advanced international experiences with the struggle of bark beetle and recent practical experience was ignored in recent years by the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park. In stead, large-scale cuttings of spruce forest infected by bark beetle were conducted. Large-scale felling of spruces affected by bark beetle and decaying forest is being conducted all-year around. Conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable development of the forests ecosystems have not been seriously taken into consideration. "Low-damaged" methods of fighting bark beetle that are in balance with the forest environment at which the recognition of Belovezhskaya Pushcha as World Biosphere Reserve and as World Heritage Site has been based is not taken well into account.

At the recent inspection of sites in Belovezhskaya Pushcha where fellings of forest stands that have been infected by bark beetle have been conducted, it appeared that no changes in the practice of realization of fellings were made in 2003. Lost stands are completely cut down, like in previous years. Dead standing trees are not every selectively being saves as an environment for the whole complex of animals and plants, while those dead trees are of vital importance for many organisms that depend on dead wood which they can inhabit and decompose. Trees which have been blown down by storm, branches which have been broken of because of strong winds or for other reasons as well as remnants of cut trees are being burned which leads to losses of the natural environment of many species once more. After brushwood and branches are being burned large black spots of burned humus remain present on the surface. On such sites the trunks of living trees are burnt often, while the fresh renewal of the forest and the seeds of plants stored in the litter burn down as well.

Timber is dragged by use of heavy wheel tractors. It leaves deep wounds in the ground surface. The dragging ways are situated chaotically on forest clearing, as is the wood which is stored often directly within the areas that are being cut down. Subsequently access roads are being made, which usually leads to the destroy of groups of young trees that have been saved so far. Damage is made to everything under the canopy; bushes, young trees, roots of adult trees, the litter, the soil and the grassy cover. The layer of humus, «food» for future generations of forest, is lost as a consequence. Single spruces which are often more biologically resistant survive the attack of pests, but they are cut down sometimes as if they were infected by bark beetle as well.

All by all the adopted practice of management of the forest has an extremely negative effect on the preservation of the natural complexes within the protected Belovezhskaya Pushcha Forest.

These pictures present the dramatic condition of sites within the forest where man "passed" through with his axe. It will take a long time before such forests destroyed by large-scale felling will reshape themselves of the relics to which they have been shaped.

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(Compartment 740, April 27, 2003)
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(Compartment 740, April 27, 2003)

Further: Cutting down Scientific Permanent Plots for forest monitoring (2003), continuation