Felling of big old-aged Spruce trees as traps for Bark beetle, 2005

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; infliction of a damage to biological diversity.

Events, facts, documents and evidences: It is well known that the size of the populations of all species on the planet Earth develop in cyclic fluctuation. This implies their number is not constant in the course of time and changes as a result of decreases and increases. Peaks of mass reproduction (a rise in number) of Spruce Bark beetles in natural conditions of the country of Belarus over last four to five years, compared to their average number, may serve as an example. In later years the number of specimens naturally decreases to a level in which these insects do not bring any essential damage to Spruce tree-stands.

In Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the last outbreak of Bark beetle began in 2001. The peak of the outbreak naturally came to an end in 2005, despite the efforts the workers of the National Park made aimed at continuation of the outbreak. These efforts were rather serious. In the earlier pages it has irrefutably been shown that numerous and rough infringements of technological discipline promoted further development of Bark beetles during the sanitary fellings were conducted. Tens of thousands cubic meters of logged wood have not been taken out of the forest areas in scheduled time and felled Spruce trees have not been debarked. This practice has been described in the pages "Felling of living giant Spruces trees, traps for Bark beetle in protected compartments of the forest, March - May 2001" and "Tens of thousands cubic meters wood left behind in the forest rot away (May 2001 - January 2003)".

In spite of the natural ending of the outbreak of Bark beetles, the forest management areas have been imposed serious plans of cutting down Spruce trees in 2005. The aim was to use these trees as traps for the insects, to fight and prevent mass duplication of Bark beetles. Already in 2001 it was proved that the administration of the National Park felled big trees, including giants, in order to use them as wood traps. This was an infringement to instructions of using trees of the meddle diameter for this purpose (page "Felling of living giant Spruces trees, traps for Bark beetle in protected compartments of the forest, March - May 2001").

The situation in 2005 turned out similar to the one described above. There was no dramatic situation to justify big volumes of tree-traps, as the outbreak of Bark beetle was coming to its end. Nonetheless, the management of the National Park decided to use big volumes of tree-traps. Moreover, they again large trees of the highest wood quality were used. These trees, which survived after the peak of outbreak of Bark beetles possessed strong vitality. They would resist an attack of Bark beetle. Actually, not a "fight" against Bark beetle has been the objective for cutting down large trees of wood of the best quality. The felling was actually primarily aimed at serving the timber processing plant.

The following example cab illustrates all these notes.

These photos show large trees cut down as wood traps for Bark beetle in April 2005.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

Fire wood which was cut from the bottom part of trunk with a rotten core or thin top part of the trunk stored nearby the stumps.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

These pictures show heaps of branches of living trees that have been cut down to serve as wood traps.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

Branches and needles of Spruce trees have been photographed close to the objects. The darkly green colour of needles testifies good health of the felled Spruce trees.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

Pictures of trunks which show a cutting surface are the best confirmation of strong vitality of the cut down large Spruce trees. Strong secretion of resin on the cutting surface, which edges the exterior circle of the tree are well visible. This testifies to big supply of resin in these trees. Resin is necessary for a tree to flood damaged parts including those wholes in the bark made by Bark beetles when they populate a tree. Resin on trunks even flows down in some places. As an example, pictures of three felled trees are shown.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

These pictures show stumps of felled trees of old age. Plenty of secreted resin at the exterior circle of a stump is well visible.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

Some "tree-traps" had already been removed and were lying near the felling plot. Such haste to make trees ready for delivery to the timber processing plant in the beginning of May is surprising.

These pictures demonstrate a trace of wooded dragged from the forest with tractors.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

These pictures show logs of Spruce trees that have been removed from the forest, have been grouped in a stack. They are ready to be transported to the timber processing plant.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

These pictures of trunks of the largest of these trees also confirm their strong vital ability. They also demonstrate the strong resin secretion very well on the cutting surface at the exterior circle of the tree.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

These pictures show a center of Bark beetle infection. The Spruce forest decayed and died due to mass duplication of Bark beetles in previous years.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

It is visible that some Spruce trees survived in this Bark beetle center. Since the Bark beetle center is fading, the felled trees of old age had all chances to survive, especially since the amount of predators and parasites was already sufficient to end the outbreak of Bark beetles.

These pictures show one of the predatory beetles. It is an ant-beetle, photographed on the felled trunk at the moment of it was consuming a Bark beetle.

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(Compartment 843; May 03, 2005)

The described situation once again evidently illustrates that the administration of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" proceeds its line of destruction of valuable wood in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, with impunity and against the legislation. The Park operates under patronage of the Property Management Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus, in secrecy, and lacking proper control of public bodies and nature protection organizations. The supply of valuable logs to the timber processing plant is a priority for the administration in stead of the protection of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, as the present Belarusian authorities continuously and officially claim.

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PS. These pictures were made during a visit to the plot in the summer of 2005. They show stumps of old-aged Spruce trees that had been felled in spring. Huge white stains at their exterior circle are visible. Apparently the tree possessed an abundance of resin, which the tree produced until it died .

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(Compartment 843; July 24, 2005)

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