Forestry Agency advocates ban on logging near Siberian tiger habitat

Forestry Agency advocates ban on logging near Siberian tiger habitat

27 July 2011

The head of the Federal Agency for Forestry (Rosleskhoz) Viktor Maslykov leads a working group that has been established to oversee the preservation of forests in the Bikin River valley in Primorye Territory. The area is inhabited by the Siberian tiger. The working group involves representatives from WWF, the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor), local authorities and Les Export, a forest leasing contractor.


Last May, Les Export leased two tracks of land near the lower section of the Bikin River for logging, and planed to lease a third track near a mature section of the river. Environmentalists objected to logging in the fragile Bikin forest and began a “Save the Russian Amazon” public campaign.  


The working group is already up and running. The group, that includes the vice-governor of Primorye Territory, Pavel Popov, a representative of the Board of Directors of Les Export, Georgy Puzynkin, will report its findings to Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov on August 10.


The Federal Agency for Forestry proposed amending the forest plan for the Primorye Territory to restrict timber logging in pine nut harvesting areas and along protected fish spawning areas to avoid similar conflicts in the future and find a systemic solution to the problem. The lack of such legal restrictions on commercial logging in protected forests resulted in the conflict between the forest industry representatives and environmentalists.