2011 / 10 / 04

ROO SPOK’s Appeal to Karelia Government: Don’t Approve Changes to Land Use Plan.

On October 4, the Karelia Regional Nature Conservancy SPOK held a press conference in Petrozavodsk and presented their analysis of the changes to the republic’s land use plan.The Karelia government is planning on approving the changes in the near future.  At the press conference, Alexander  Markovsky, director of ROO SPOK, stated that the proposed changes not only undermine the new administration’s high-priority goals to develop tourism and sustainable forest use, but they also are in conflict with Russia’s international obligation to protect the environment. According to Markovsky, if these changes are approved, there will be no place in Karelia to develop tourism, because the pristine natural areas that are the most attractive to tourists will be opened up for commercial development.

Under Karelia’s current land use plan, approved in 2007 by the previous administration, within the next 15 years, 60 new Specially Protected Natural Areas with a total area of over 1.8 million hectares must be created in the republic. The current leadership is being asked to approved changes under which there will be only 20 new SPNAs created in Karelia with a total area of 512,000 hectares, and the deadline for creating them will be extended until 2030. ROO SPOK believes that these changes were not based the comparative economic merits of allocating forests for logging or reserving them for recreation and tourism. They also haven’t taken into consideration the findings of the international project “Preservation of Valuable Natural Areas in Northwest Russia,” which points out two specific natural areas that have international significance—the Pyaozersky Forest (the planned Pyaozersky Scenic Reserve) and the Muezersky Forest (the planned Spokoyny Scenic Reserve). Neither of these is included in the new version of the land use plan, nor are 40 other SPNAs with a total area of more than 1.3 million hectares.

Markovsky noted that passage of the new land use plan will lead to clearcutting on more than 450,000 hectares of well-established intact forests. The republic’s leading timber companies, which have declared a policy of sustainable forest use, currently have these areas under a voluntary moratorium on commercial development. “If these these unique forests are excluded from the planned SPNAs, as the new plan proposes, then all agreements between nature conservationists and timber companies on the preservation of valuable forest areas will be invalidated. We will once again return to the time when ecologists had to fight with loggers to save the remaining areas of intact forests,” SPOK’s director emphasized.

The participants in the press conference called upon the government of Karelia to not make any changes in the republic’s land use plan that will lead to the destruction of valuable natural areas.

The proposed changes to the land use plan have been posted on the website of the Ministry of Construction of the Republic of Karelia: http://gov.karelia.ru/gov/Power/Committee/Build/index.html

  • The Land Use Plan of the Republic of Karelia. Materials from the (draft) report (in *.doc format 179Kb)
  • The Land Use Plan of the Republic of Karelia. Regulation on the Land Use Plan (draft) (in *.doc format 89,5Kb)
  • Maps for the draft Land Use Plan of the Republic of Karelia (in *.jpg format 18,2Mb)

Leave a comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.