2011 / 04 / 27

ROO SPOK Protests Felling in Current and Planned Natural Areas.

The Karelia Regional Nature Conservancy SPOK has notified the republic’s Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, Sergey Shtrakhov, that the leasing of protected lands for logging is intolerable. In the complaint, ROO SPOK cites logging leases that have been approved for all types of felling in the Voynitsa Scenic Reserve, in the planned Spokoyny Scenic Reserve, and in the protected area of the Kostomuksha Nature Reserve, and it opposes both clearcutting and selective cutting (of more than 50%) in the planned protected area of the Kalevala National Park. The ecologists also are in favor of a total ban on land development and forest clearing on the wetland islands of the planned Rugozero Village Marsh Natural Monument. ROO SPOK suggests that the Karelia Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology designates all planned wildlife preserves and protected areas around national parks as future Specially Protected Natural Areas and that these lands be excluded from commercial use.

In February of this year, the ministry signed a forest lease with OOO Kostomuksha Development Company. According to the lease, the company received logging rights in the protected area of the Kostomuksha State Nature Reserve. Additionally, in 2009, the previous Karelia administration leased to OOO KDC dozens of quadrants in the Voynitsa, Kimasozero, Konets-Ostrov, Rugozero, Tikshina, and Rebolsk forest districts, many of which include current and future SPNAs. That lease was for a high-priority forest exploitation project. As of today, the Karelia public prosecutor has filed a lawsuit in the republic’s Arbitrazh Court requesting that the lease agreement between the Karelia Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology and OOO KCD be declared in violation of federal law and invalid.

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