IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA,
GREAT JOB MR. PARMAR
it is good to eat as many as vegetables and fruits (totally vegetarian), but my aurvedic doctor asked me to stop eating every...
WITH over 60 per cent of the world's
reserves of non-tropical and largest
stretch of boreal forests in the world,
Russia holds the most important carbon
pool in the northern hemisphere. A
recent decision by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization to include the virgin
forests of Russia's Komi region in its
World Heritage list, came as a relief for
Russia's environmentalist groups.
The announcement followed a year-long Greenpeace campaign to stall logging projects in the area, famed for its
six million ha of untouched softwood
forestis - one of the world's largest
stretches after the Amazons, and also
one of the three surviving virgin forest
belts left in Europe.
Russia's forests have regularly been
falling prey to indiscriminate logging
operations - at least 300 ha being axed
daily. Over 1994, timber exports had
risen by 100 per cent, unnerving the
"We realise that export of timber is
inevitable under the present circumstances," says Elena Surovikina, a coordinator for Greenpeace Russia's biodiversity campaign. "So for now, we are
calling for a three-pronged forest policy.
Firstly, final clearing of forests in any
given zone must be stopped. Secondly,
there is a need for more eco-friendly
logging methods - the equipment and
methods currently used in Russia are
disastrous for the forest ecosystems.
And thirdly, reforestation efforts must
be stepped up."
A Greenpeace report for 1995 speculated that in Russia, forest areas lost to
road b6ilding, horticultural ventures
and even construction of country
homes for the nouveau riche last year
could be as much as 10 million ha.
Surovikina revealed that state forestry
agencies (Leskhozy) are bankrupt with
no funds for fighting fires, guarding
forests from illegal loggers or even for
The Komi forests' new found status
has strengthened hopes of the green
groups. However, now the Karelian
green belt on the Russian-Finnish border is in the eye of the storm. The 900
km-long green belt covers several vegetation zones and is home to several
Karelian authorities are obviously
reluctant to abandon the lucrative project; instead, they are demanding recompensation from the European Union
for their loss. Meanwhile, the local government is trying to push through a
gold mining project in the area, much to
the environmentalists' ire, who fear that
more than 100,000 ha of forests may be
destroyed in this venture.
The World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
have been accused of imposing a comprador style economy on Russia. Last
year, as a condition for granting a us
$6.3 billion loan to Moscow, the IMF
demanded full liberalisation of Russia's
export system, including the natural
resources sectors. Subsequently, dozens
of firms joined the race to sell lumber
and reap a huge profit margin. Wood in
the Siberian taiga which fetches us $3
per cubic metre, sells in neighbouring
Japan for us $60.
Nathaniel Trumbull, co-author of a
book on natural resource use in the
Soviet era, sums up the situation aptly,
"By applying competitive Western economic practices to a largely unregulated
natural resource market, the Russian
government now risks squandering its
natural resource, creating long-term
economic loss and great environmental
harm to Russia."