Monday, October 27, 2008

Government restricts deforestation in Carpathians

The Cabinet of Ministers has passed a resolution imposing special restrictions on the clearance of forests in the Carpathian Mountains (West Ukraine).

The State Forestry Committee said that the document had been passed in connection with July's devastating floods in western Ukraine that were explained by the illegal cutting of forests.

At the same time, environmentalists believe that these measures are insufficient and that deforestation should be fully banned in the Carpathians.

According to the document, which will take effect on January 1, 2009, the complete clearance of forests and deforested areas in the Carpathians should be significantly restricted, while the clauses of general rules for deforestation in Ukrainian forests permitting the systematic cutting of forests, will not be applied to forests in Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Chernivtsi regions.

In particular, if 40-50% of one hectare of forests can be cleared according to current rules, this figure will be no more than 30% for the Carpathian forests. According to the new document, the width of a wood cutting area should not exceed 50 meters.

It was deforestation that was described by ecologists as a major reason for July's floods in the Carpathian region. Thirty people died and tens of thousands of residential houses were flooded as a result of torrential rain in western Ukraine.