Felling of living giant Spruces trees, traps for Bark beetle in protected compartments of the forest, March - May 2001

Infringements: Clauses 25 and 27 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus «About Special Protected Natural Territories and Objects» are violated; Clause 55 of «Forest Codes» of the Republic of Belarus; Clause 62 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus «About Protection of Environment»; violation of rules of selection of trees to be cut for traps of wood to fight Bark beetle; cutting down living old-age giant Spruce trees; non-use of Spruce-trees, thrown down by hurricane, as wood traps against the Bark beetle; infliction of a damage to biological diversity.

Events, facts, documents and evidences: As has been described in a previous section (Sanitary clear cutting stands of Spruce as a simulation of the struggle with Bark beetle) no action was made to attempt to solve the struggle with Bark beetle in 2001, except for cutting of infected as well as non-infected trees. Neither special pheromone traps were used nor have Spruce logs in order to attract beetles as live traps been laid out.

In 2002 an order on the use of specific wooden traps made from Spruces to combat Bark beetles was issued. This was done to perform a decision of the State Commission, for better development of the decision on expediency of sanitary cuttings in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha which had been agreed for (order №178 from July 24, 2001) and following instructions to handle the struggle with Bark beetles.

Our information. Usage of traps of wood from Spruce is a key method in the fight against Bark beetle. The technique starts with spreading Spruces throughout the infected forests. The trees used as wood traps may be cut out from uninfected parts of the forest, while it can be recommended to apply weak and oppressed Spruces in diameter range of 20 to 40 cms as well which have been thrown down through storm of have been injured after periods of heavy snowfall. In early spring Bark beetles become active and prefer to attack such week logs initially. Later Bark beetles do settle in these introduced Spruces and their larvae start to grow. At that moment the trees are taken out of the forest or if it is impossible to remove them the bark is being peeled from the truck. This method is not complicated, economical and optimal in the ecological view. The method leads to a density of Bark beetle which is substantially lower as the beetles are attracted to these wood traps and their larvae are being terminated.

In order to attract beetles to the wood traps more effectively there is the possibility to hang traps with pheromones nearby the traps of logs of Spruces. These pheromone traps are specific constructions which attract Bark beetles through a special substance. These pheromone traps are cleaned regularly. The beetles are being removed and terminated mechanically.

In 2002 the number of 3500 cubic meters of Spruce trees were spread through the whole territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha in order to fight Bark beetle with these wooden traps. However, for this purpose a strict selection of the best old-age Spruces - perfect wood for timber in terms of volume and quality - have been applied, while weak and damaged trees would have worked as efficient traps as well. It was easily possible to use broken or damaged trees as an abnormal hurricane passed by the Belovezhskaya Pushcha at the end of February. It is a fact that 10 hectares of living Spruce forest could have been saved, however they were cut down to be employed as wood traps. The felling resulted in the disappearance of hundreds of old and very vital trees which are of particular worth because of the origin of their genes. It has been proved that amongst the trees felled were giant Spruces, which shape the unique picture of the primeval wildness that has disappeared throughout Europe, but which still reigns Belovezhskaya Pushcha

These pictures show numerous examples of felling of huge living old-age Spruces to be applied as wood traps.

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(Picture 1 - compartment 586, 30.06.2002;
pictures 2, 3 - compartment 679, June 30, .2002;
picture 4 - compartment 679, July 06, 2002)
5 click to enlarge 6 click to enlarge 7 click to enlarge 8 click to enlarge

(Picture 5 - compartment 711, June 30, 2002)
(Pictures 6-8 - compartment 778, July 06 2002)

A further violation or infringement of the rules applicable to preventive measures connected to solving the struggle with Bark beetle the wood traps were not taken out from the forest in time. So, the trees had not been carried out timely nor had their bark been removed to combat Bark beetle. As a consequence young beetles which grew up in and on these wood traps took off and infected trees elsewhere in the forest. It can be concluded that wood traps have played a notable role in the sense that they turned out to promote breeding and distribution of Bark beetles. The foresters have managed them in a wrong way.

All pictures in this section have been made in the second half of June and the beginning of July, 2002. At this time on some locations the young generation of deciduous trees was already growing over many of the logs of trees being left in the forest. Separate huge spruce trucks began to lose their bark. These field observations testify that Bark beetles did yet finish their development in these trunks a long time ago and that they spread out from these trees.

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(Pictures 1, 2 - compartment 806, July 06, 2002; pictures 3, 4 - compartment 741, July 06, 2002)

Further: Forest fire