2017 was declared the Year of Ecology in Russia. Only, it seems, not our country, but China. This feeling is created by looking at how the taiga in Siberia and the Far East is being cut down to please the Celestial Empire, which is restoring its forests. Anti-record keeping Irkutsk region. Last year, more than a million cubic meters of Russian timber was illegally cut down and exported to China.
What is the main natural wealth of our country? Many will answer: of course, oil and gas. After all, it is on their export that the basic budget revenues of Russia are built. However, there is another answer: this is the forest, the "green gold" of the country. First, in terms of oil reserves, our country is only the eighth in the world, and by the area of forests - the first on the entire planet. In Russia, about 25% of the world's timber reserves, 3 times more than in the US and Canada, combined, over 50% of the world's reserves of valuable softwood. Secondly, and most importantly, oil, gas and other minerals are mined and not recovered, that is, sooner or later they will end. And the forest, if treated with care and diligence, will live forever, bringing tremendous benefits to all people - both economic and environmental. This is especially true of the Siberian and Far Eastern taiga, which is fairly called one of the main "light planets" and our national treasure.
More than half of all illegally mined timber is cut in the Irkutsk region.
Alas, this national heritage is not just not being taken care of. His barbaric destruction. The area of forest areas is shrinking at a frightening pace, millions of hectares of green plantations have already been lost. And, according to the head of the Ministry of Natural Resources Sergei Donskoy, the damage from logging in Russia is growing every year. Over the past five years, the volume of illegal logging has increased by 70%!
Almost all of this Russian wealth, which became an article of export, goes in the form of timber to China. In the Amur region, according to official data of the environmental prosecutor's office, more than half (!) Of the state forest fund has been given up for cutting. And these are only legal volumes. The scale of the shadow business is at least not less. Only in the Maritime Territory annually up to 1.5 million cubic meters of timber are illegally cut down, which brings to shadow structures at least $ 150 million in profits. This amount is almost half of the annual budget of the region.
According to the accounts of the Siberian Customs Administration, only for 2016 loggers have supplied foreign consumers almost 7 million cubic meters of timber. Three quarters of this volume falls on the Baikal taiga, where more than 10% of the forest resources of the whole of Russia are concentrated. As a result, the ecology of Lake Baikal - one of the most beautiful pearls of Russia - is now under threat of destruction. The territory of the Irkutsk region is unique, since the share of valuable coniferous species here is very high even on a global scale. In addition, the forest protects the soil from drying out. However, even in Soviet times, the Irkutsk region was the leader in terms of logging volumes.
In the post-Soviet period, it has achieved even greater success in this field, cutting down the forest several times more than any other subject of the Russian Federation. According to official data of the Ministry of Natural Resources, more than half of all illegally extracted Russian timber is harvested in the Irkutsk region. It accounts for 62% of the total timber exports of the entire Siberian Federal District. The entire southern half of the Irkutsk region now represents almost a continuous cutting area. The areas covered by legal and especially illegal logging are unprecedented. The territory of the Irkutsk region has now been cleared by almost 50%, even in space images, huge wastelands are visible.
The largest forest dump in the world
Throughout the Irkutsk region forest cemeteries are multiplying - and not only in the form of dead stumps of the former living lush trees. Every city in the south and in the center of the Baikal region, huge dumps from discarded trunks and branches pile up. The largest such dump in the world in the volume of 2 million cubic meters - near the city of Ust-Kut. After all, as a rule, only round timber is exported, that is, the lower, the most valuable part of the trunk, and the rest of the trunk and crown remain rotten in place-like the corpse of a former living tree. This is how "black" loggers and legal tenants act. Yes, and transport logs more conveniently. Russia has already become a leader on the planet for the export of round, untreated timber - 16% of the world market - a little-known leadership.
Local people kill their own ecology, because for many it is the only opportunity to earn money. Local authorities are comfortable with this, because you can not sweat with the creation of legal jobs. And there are no protesters among the residents, because very many are unwillingly engaged in criminal forestry business. Corrupt officials are doing everything possible to ensure that these massacres continue. Hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of valuable species are illegally cut down under the pretext of sanitary cuttings. Almost no one seems to really check whether the logger has chosen its quota or has already exceeded it by many times.
Moreover, the authorities also help in every way to cut down the taiga for commercial purposes. A considerable part of the territory of Siberia and the Far East has already been leased to entrepreneurs from China or to the joint Russian-Chinese administration. Tenants from China, who became the main importer of Russian timber (64% of its total exports), are given tax preferences. For export to the Middle Kingdom, preferential tariffs apply.
China banned cutting down forests in its territory
The Ministry of Justice approved the rules by which the Ministry of Natural Resources increased the area of forests by 1.5 times, where it is possible to harvest wood. Now industrial felling is allowed in valuable cedar forests. The head of the Greenpeace Russia program for protected areas Mikhail Kreindlin is indignant: "This will result in the destruction of forests in many regions of Siberia and the Far East, from the Tomsk region to Primorye. Many animals will lose their homes. " Destroy the most valuable species - Angara pine, Mongolian oak, Korean pine, Manchurian ash, and it is a blow to the entire ecosystem of the region. The water level in many rivers is already anomalously low, the lakes dry up. In the thinning forests of the Far East, according to the World Wildlife Fund, there are only 450 individuals of the Amur tiger listed in the Red Book.
But the cedar wood is in great demand, including the processors in China, where own cedar harvesting is almost completely discontinued. Not surprisingly, exports from Russia are growing. However, rather it is similar to the export of raw materials from the occupied colony. The Chinese government even passed a law banning the import of processed timber from Russia - everything is in the interests of domestic, that is, Chinese, producers. One cubic meter of the Russian round is sold to China at about $ 40 per kilogram, and the lumber made for it there for the US and Europe is on the international forest stock exchanges for 500 bucks per cubic meter. Not bad cook, right?
When the 2017th was officially approved as the Year of Ecology, the Minister of Donskoy assured: "I am sure that positive changes will be visible to everyone." And he did not deceive me. Positive changes are very noticeable ... in China. If in the south of Siberia and the Far East there are already deserts from the stumps alone, because the forest is cut in round days, and there are practically no processing plants, then in the 50-kilometer zone on the side of China there are huge processing complexes piled up with Russian timber.
The authorities of the Celestial Empire, where forests were previously mercilessly destroyed, 10 years ago they strictly forbade their cutting down - under strict criminal punishment. With the goal of turning China into an ecological civilization, the authorities are working to restore forests, which will cover about a quarter of the country by 2020. This state program is already bearing fruit. To date, about 13 million hectares of forest areas have been created. Wherever the stumps were, the green oak-trees again rustled. Let's be glad that this is the merit of the Russian forests, sacrificed to the revival of Chinese ecology ...