Massive logging increase floods – scientists

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Массовые рубки леса усиливают паводки – ученые

Industrial logging significantly affects the water level in the rivers during floods and floods, and the consequences of human intervention in the natural landscape have an impact for decades after completion of the work. To such conclusion came experts of Fund “Silver taiga” (created in 2002 on the basis of the Syktyvkar branch of the world wildlife Fund (WWF)), who studied the behavior of rivers of the Komi Republic within 20 years after the closure of a major forestry enterprise “Mastiles”. Environmentalists believe that massive flooding in the Irkutsk region, which claimed 22 lives, has become so catastrophic, including for logging, reports IA “КазахЗерно.kz”.

Decades for restoration

Massive logging in watersheds have a significant impact on rivers as a result of increased intensity of floods and floods, shallow streams, reduced groundwater levels, causing dry wells and disappearing of valuable species of fish.

To such conclusion ecologists Foundation for sustainable development “Silver taiga” Yuri Pautov and Alexander Borovlev, which examined the impact of the work of the joint Soviet-Bulgarian forestry enterprise “Mastiles” in the Komi Republic. Since the mid-1970s, it led procurement in the area of the Mezen river. For 20 years, to the early 1990-ies had been cut almost two-thirds of the catchment of the Upper reaches of the Mezen.

The analysis of the observations conducted by Roshydromet and the survey in which participated more than a hundred of the old-timers of the region, showed that between 1970 and 1980 changed dramatically all the characteristics of the hydrological regime. It was at this time had the most active development of the timber “of Meseglise”.

Local residents said that the flash floods and river floods were observed at Mezen in 1980-1990, after which the intensity started to decline. But the process is still ongoing, from which the researchers concluded that the recovery period after the cessation of clear-cutting is not less than 20 years.

By 1980, the amount of water in the river Mezen in the summer-autumn period fell sharply.

Now Mezen you can go on foot, and 40 years ago there were steamers, – complained the old-timers in the survey. – After the “Bulgarian” deforestation observed the drying up of the wells. From March to may and in August the water in the wells no, or very little.

Adult forest canopy intercepts precipitation, which increases their evaporation, have explained “news” the Director of Silver taiga Foundation Yury Pautov.

– The average canopy of a forest stand can hold 10-25% of precipitating liquid precipitation. In winter the interception of precipitation and evaporation also play an important role, especially in coniferous forests where the snow lingers on the trees and under the forest canopy for a long time, he said.

Soils covered by forest, have higher permeability, thereby reducing surface runoff and increasing groundwater resources, continued the ecologist. The reduction of forest cover in a watershed leads to the fact that in the period of snow melting and during floods the water meets with obstacles, so quickly flows over the surface of the soil and significantly raises the level of the river.

Almost 15% of respondents noted that as a result of massive logging has occurred in the siltation of rivers and streams. With these reasons, many residents of the Udora district and the associated reduction in the number of valuable species of fish – grayling, salmon, whitefish – in the Mezen and its tributaries. This is due to the increased soil erosion due to intensive surface runoff. Moreover, the accumulation and movement of sand bars in the mainstream of the Mezen is still ongoing, although more than a quarter of a century.

Irkutsk circumstances

The cause of the tragedy in the Irkutsk region was the confluence of several circumstances, environmentalists say: the extreme amount of precipitation (in some places – almost a four-month norm), dodawanie of snow in the mountains, development in the floodplain, insufficient height of the dam, explained “news” the candidate of biological Sciences Alexey Yaroshenko. One of the factors, the totality of which led to the tragedy, steel and forest clearcuts in the region.

– Only the upper part of the watersheds of rivers the UDA and the AI was not disturbed by the mass of industrial logging in recent decades. And it softened the situation. And in the lower part of the plain, and there are already secondary forests. This, of course, made my sad contribution to the flood, – said Alexey Yaroshenko. But now in the upper reaches of the planned sanitary cutting. We suspect that they are fake, because such precedents have already been. This cuttings are carried out under the pretext of combating pests, but their basic purpose is to circumvent the prohibitions and restrictions, and in fact they are no different from industrial timber harvesting. These actions may in the future increase the risk of flooding. It is very dangerous.

On the issue of illegal logging has repeatedly drawn the attention of the head of state. So, may 16, at the media forum BIP Vladimir Putin showed footage of the story of REN TV about how in the Irkutsk region the inaction of the officials resulting in the theft of the forest, under the guise of sanitation for illegal sale cut down healthy trees, and to conceal the theft arranged the arson.

– The opinion is not unfounded, because, really, the easiest way to cover the theft of the forest is to set fire to separate areas. Therefore, it requires careful and professional investigation, – said the President.

According to the head of state, the situation with violations in the forest sector requires a rapid restore order.

– There is, of course, and theft is terrible, and causing tremendous damage to nature and future generations. So now being studied and formulated supplements to the relevant legislation, he said.

6 June it became known about the arrest in Moscow of the Minister of forest complex of the Irkutsk region Sergey Cheverda. According to available information, it happened in the investigation of the criminal case initiated on the fact of illegal felling in state nature reserve. According to the investigation, the officer agreed to the clearcuts on the area of 120 hectares, resulting in the state suffered damage amounting to no less than 748 million rubles.

– Black loggers need to fight. This work will continue, I am absolutely convinced of this. We have common interests, we understand that more can not, – said, commenting on the detention, the Minister of natural resources and ecology of Russia Dmitry Kobylkin.

A week ago, July 1, it became known that the Prosecutor’s office of the Severobaikalsk district of the Irkutsk region initiated a probe into the fire, which was discovered in the reserve “Tocolor” June 29, employees of “Avialesookhrana”. Source REN TV in law enforcement bodies has informed that the day before the fire, on June 28, investigators together with the specialists conducted outreach activities to identify cases of illegal logging by commercial entities associated with the leadership of the region.

Despite the effective work of the Ministry of industry and trade in recent years, the topic of deforestation is becoming more urgent, said in an interview with “Izvestiya” and Director of the Institute for applied political studies Gregory Left. The situation on the ground, the expert said, depends not only on disasters but also on the effectiveness of regional governance.

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