Wood export

Events, facts, documents and evidences: Before 1991, when the Belovezhskaya Pushcha's territory had the status of a State Protection Game Ground, related to it wood processing industry (relatively small in scale then comparing with the present time) catered for the home market. Since 1991, when Belovezhskaya Pushcha received the status of a State National Park, the priority as to where supply wood products has been gradually given to foreign markets. The first foreign customer became a Polish businessman who owned a saw mill in the Polish part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. In the beginning heavy timber lorries were delivering the wood from the Belarusian part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha to Poland through a simplified border crossing in the area of Pererov-Grudki. However, after some incidents connected with infringement of border crossing rules, lorries started to bypass Belovezhskaya Pushcha through common border crossings. The Pole soon relocated his wood business to the Belarusian side of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, where he built his own sawmill. The sawmill has been supplied with prime large-sized valuable wood from Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the recent years.

Having established business links to export wood in the foreign states at hand, in the mid 90-s, the authority of the Belarusian National Park turned to markets of such countries like Germany, prime wood has been delivered to the German "Whe-Haepke" to pay off the purchase of a powerful sawmill from an entrepreneur running the company. The geography of wood export continues to grow, with some other European countries getting involved in it as buyers.

The picture shows select plank timber that goes for export.

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(The Kamenyuki village,
August 28, 2002)

Evolved from large-scale felling that was initiated by the present administration of the National Park in 2001 on account and on the pretext of fighting bark beetle in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the pick of the export activity was in 2003. The felling was so intensive that the capacity of the sawmill was simply not enough to process the wood. Stacks of harvested valuable prime wood lay rotting scattered in the forest then as there was no infrastructure to take it away. Belovezhskaya Pushcha gradually began to turn into a large felling area. The area that has stumps, logs, timber lorries and other attributes of a timber industry complex, but not at all of a national park and a biosphere reserve.

Instead of bringing down the scale of harvested wood to something ecologically reasonable that can preserve the unique primeval forest of the National Park, the decision was made to significantly increase the export of wood, primarily to Russia. As a result, some railway stations have turned into terminals to which the wood is delivered to be loaded on railway carriages and sent abroad.

The picture shows lorries loaded with timber that is delivered from the forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha to railway stations.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

The timber is unloaded and stored here.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

The wood, which is unloaded, is sorted at the same time: big logs go to one stack while middle-sized and small logs to another one. The size of such stacks constantly varies, just as the wood constantly comes from Belovezhskaya Pushcha to be shipped by rail.

The pictures show a stack of middle-sized and small spruce logs.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

These pictures show a large stack of prime big spruce logs of the highest commercial value.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

A lot of trees in this stack are over 100 - 150 years. This is the best wood of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. This wood cannot be find anywhere in Europe.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

Small Pine logs.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

. and small Birch trunks can be found in the stacks.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

Oak trees are also delivered sometimes

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

The size of the wood stacks compared to the height of people and...

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

. autos in the pictures can say about the scales of the wood export.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

The wood is loaded onto railway carriages by timber lorries with special cranes.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

A special team of workers serves is loading the wood.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

When loaded onto carriages, the wood leaves abroad before the eyes of Belarusian citizens.

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(The town of Zhabinka, 2004)

This has been practicede since 1993. The wood is exported throughout the year. It remains only to guess how much of the forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha has been sold by today's businessmen who treat invaluable natural heritage as timber for earning hard currency. Undoubtedly, the current scale of felling in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is comparable with the most critical times from the past of the unique forest, when the forest's future was threatened and progressive people stood up for its protection. Read "Century Belarusian Timber Corporation" to find out more about export of wood from Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

Further: Wood processing factories around Belovezhskaya Pushcha (2004), continuation