Large-scale cutting of the reserved forest (2004), 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: As was shown in earlier pages ("Large-scale cutting of forest infected by Bark beetle (May 2001 - December, 2002)" and "Large-scale cutting of forest infected by Bark beetle, continuation, 2003") large-scale fellings are executed within the reserved wood of "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" National Park. The adopted technologies are comparable to those of commercially exploited forests. Advanced international experience of sustainable forest management and recent scientific achievements in the field of ecology are being ignored. The forest is being felled all-year around. The conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable development of the forests ecosystems have not been taken into serious consideration. Ecological-friendly and mild methods of forestry, at which the protected status of Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a World Biosphere Reserve and as a World Heritage Site has been based, are not being practiced in the National Park. This all brings enormous damage to unique forest ecosystems and the biological diversity of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Fellings are being conducted in the second zone, the Regulated Nature Zone. According to the regulations of the National Park economic activities are authorized in this zone. However, it does not mean that no restrictions are made to the quality of conducted fellings and to the negative effects of such fellings to the reserved environment.

From inspections at several sites in 2004, it appeared that no changes in the practice of realization of fellings were made. The scales of fellings are as large as in previous years. Obsolete felling methods and technologies, which are characteristic within commercial forests are being applied. They make great damage to the wild nature of Belovezhskaya Pushcha Primeval Forest.

These pictures show the situation on sites where fellings of the best examples of reserved Spruce wood aged over 150 years have been conducted.

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(The felling of the forest, compartment 773, September 20, 2004)
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(The felling of the Spruce forest: 1 and 2 - compartment 773, September 20, 2004;
3 - compartment 801, September 09, 2004; 4 - compartment 773, October 25, 2004;)

Some examples of sites of felling of elite Pine forest aged up to 200 years old are shown on these pictures.

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(The felling of the Pine forest, compartment 773, October 25, 2004)

When large-scale felling is ended on a specific location stumps are the main attribute of reserved wood on such sites.

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(Stumps instead the forest, compartment 773, September 09, 2004)
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(Stumps instead the forest: 1 and 2 - compartment 773, September 20, 2004;
3 - compartment 827, October 06, 2004; 4 - compartment 773, October 25, 2004)

A view on cutting sites with an abundance of stumps a few years after large-scale felling.

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(The felled sites: 1, 2 - compartment 773, September 09, 2004;
3 - compartment 827, October 06, 2004; 4 - compartment 773, October 27, 2004)

The forest is gradually being destroyed, resulting the permanent fellings which are conducted in the same places over many years. It is turned into an area with a kind of sparse growth of trees. Sometimes just single trees survive after fellings have been conducted. A young forest generation is also absent at such sites, as numerous wild ungulates, first of all Red deer, consume young trees. These pictures show typical sites of sparse growth of trees generated repeated large-scale fellings had been executed.

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(Sparse growth of trees, compartment 827, October 06, 2004)

Like in previous years wood remnants are burnt on sites where the conduction of fellings has been completed. This is another way in which the biological diversity and the soil are being damaged. This picture shows how the ground looks like a while after a pile of branches had been burned down on this spot.

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(The burned ground, compartment 801, 26, 2004)

When the remnants of the felled wood is being burned nearby trees are often damaged by the fire, as is shown on these pictures.

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(The scorched trees and trucks:
1 - compartment 773, October 25, 2004;
2 and 3 - compartment 827, October 06, 2004)

Quite often burning wood remnants bring about fires, which are quickly extinguished. Therefore only the lower wood layer is being damaged. These pictures demonstrate cases of scorched lower parts of the trunks of Pine.

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(The scorched Pine trees: 1 - compartment 805, October 06, 2004;
2, 3, 4 - compartment 824, December 26, 2004)

Dragging of logs is also carried out around the year. It is another contribution to the negative effects to preservation of reserved nature. It results in the grass and soil cover being torn off, while young trees and the undergrowth in the forest get damaged and the ground is wounded deeply. These pictures demonstrate sites where logs were dragged.

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(Dragging of logs, compartment 773, September 09, 2004)

Once fellings are conducted the view on many sites is as terrible as on the situation shown here. The cause of these situations is the absence of the application of ecological-friendly management methods by the National Park.

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(Fellings in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, compartment 86, December 18, 2004)

Read in more detail about damage caused to reserved wood by large-scale fellings and about how fellings should be properly conducted in "Our information" on the page "Large-scale cuttings of forest infected by Bark beetle, 2001 - 2002".

Further: Artificial planting at sites on which the relic forest was cut down, 2004 (continuation)