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17.09.2009

Environmentalist protest over the possible destruction of the Ukrainian steppe

   

Environments are critical of the State Forestry Development Programme and warn of its possible adverse consequences for the loss of natural steppe lands, as well as plants and animals included in Ukraine’s Red Book.

According to official information, the targeted State Forestry Development Programme for 2010-2015 envisages an increase in forest area by 430 thousand hectares, inventory of forest and scope of their certification in accordance with international standards, and the introduction of contemporary technology. The Cabinet of Ministers has already sent a decision on a moratorium for felling trees in the Carpathian Mountains.

This all sounds admirable, however the Deputy Head of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine [NECU], Oleksy Vasylyuk, warns that the plan envisages the planting on four percent of the steppe area and eight percent of Crimean land. He believes that this will mean the use of “colossal areas of steppe where forest does not and will not grow”.

He says that of forty percent of steppe over Ukraine’s territory, only one percent has remained containing breeds of animals and plants added to the Red Book. He believes that it will be these territories that will be used. In the Luhansk region they plan to plant over 100 thousand hectares of forest which is more than the area of remaining Luhansk steppe land. A subsequent disappearance of rare plants and animals would, he warns, be in contravention of international conventions to which Ukraine is signatory.

From a report at www.dw--world.de

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