The expert believes that it is necessary to better understand the problems of the forest industry
The forestry and industry of Yakutia are suffering today due to the accumulated problems, the lack of a clear program for the development of the forest complex and the imperfection of the legislation. It is necessary to have a deeper understanding of the problems of the forest industry, says the president of the public organization “Society of Foresters of Yakutia”, an expert of the Public Chamber Sargylana Ammosova.
Sargylana Polikarpovna, how much wood in Yakutia can be cut down without harming the environment?
As we all know very well, the forest is the only renewable natural resource. The problem of striking a balance between the rational use of forest resources during maturation and the preservation of the environment has always existed.
Experts divide the forest into five age groups: young, middle-aged, mature, mature, overripe. In some areas, the maturation age is equal to the age at which logging time is reached. And this period is different for each type of wood.
Based on the volumes of mature and overripe forests, the permissible cutting area is determined – the permissible volume of wood removal per year. In our democracy, its volume exceeds 30 million cubic meters per year. It turns out that such a tumor can be cut without harm to nature.
However, it should be borne in mind that in Yakutia most forests are located in the zone of permanent frost.
The lumber industry (formerly lumber companies) in Yakutia during the Soviet years collected up to 5 million cubic meters per year. Last year, only eight residents worked. They prepared 128 thousand cubic meters of wood. This is a relatively small amount. We see that the companies of the forest complex are in a deep crisis and for the construction needs mainly imported timber is used.
What does the annual underutilization of the permitted cut lead to?
This leads to a gradual increase in the proportion of mature and overripe forests. This factor is extremely negative for the health status of forests and can lead to other environmental problems – frequent forest fires, silkworm outbreaks.
The share of overripe forests in a democracy is almost 50%. In general, wood only rots and burns.
The main timber harvest in Yakutia, unlike other areas, takes place on the basis of annual purchase contracts for the population and municipal needs. More than 1 million cubic meters are harvested annually for these purposes. More than 22 thousand contracts are concluded annually.
The downside of short-term contract procurement is that they do not specify the supplier’s obligations for fire improvement and reforestation. Secondly, due to the large number of contracts – last year it was 22,860 – it is difficult to control the clearance, especially when the foresters are few. As a result, peaks and roots are found everywhere near settlements.
During the period of floods and fires in Yakutia, they are organized mobilized in each settlement
Third, the population conducts mainly selective logging, which leads to intense thinning of plantations. This greatly weakens the health status of the forest stands. Fourth, harvesting poles for fences is a clear violation of forest law. They are harvested, as is well known, from wood until the age of maturity, while the middle-aged plantations are cut down.
It should be noted that the population of the Amginsky region for their own needs harvests more than 50 thousand cubic meters of wood near settlements and the river. About 2,000 contracts are signed annually for these purposes.
What is the background to the “forest” issue in the Aldan region?
Today, 14 contracts have been signed in the democracy for timber harvesting. Of these, eight tenants actually work. The largest are Almas and Vitim Forestry Company.
I see the positive side of long-term leasing. The lease agreements define the tenant’s obligations for firefighting arrangements, reforestation and continuous monitoring.
The timber harvest, as a rule, is carried out by narrow beekeeping methods, alternating strips over the years. This makes it possible for the seeds to fall from the uncut wall of the forest into the cut section.
Such technologies are widely used in Finland, where all sites are separated, for example, by 100 years. One year an area is cut, a forest is planted, the next the second and so on. In 101 they return to the first location.
Sakhamin Afanasiev on logging on the upper bank of the Amga River in the Aldan region
The forest area in the Aldan area was formed in 2015 on behalf of the government of the republic. The application of the wood processing company Aldan was received by the Ministry of Industry of the Republic. At that time, the Ministry of Nature Protection did not supervise forest issues. The company Aldan later did not participate in the forest auction for the lease right, it was won by other organizations from other cities.
According to the law, if a ban on logging is introduced for certain parameters, the ban is set for everyone. And for other organizations, and for the local population.
There can be no different approach – his own or someone else’s. In this case, harvesting timber for the very needs of the population for the manufacture of firewood and the construction of houses and outbuildings becomes a big problem. If the whole Amga basin is assigned to the logging zone, it is necessary to consider the issue of supplying the population with firewood and timber.
What are the ways out of this situation?
At present, the area of the Yakutia Forest Fund is 254 million hectares, of which 126 million hectares are committed. In the territory of the Aldan Forest Service, there are mainly commercial forests.
To change the purpose of forests in some areas, the government must develop and submit proposals for the forest management plan for 2023. However, according to the Forest Code, funds for firefighting are not available for reserve forests. The authorities must raise the issue of amending the forest code of the Russian Federation, in order to resolve this issue with the State Duma.
The road is long. It is also necessary to submit proposals for the introduction of a new category of protection forests in the Forest Code, for example, frost protection forests.
The problems are complex, linked to the lack of a clear program for the development of the forest complex in Yakutia, both in the forest industry and in forestry.