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Russia concerned over illicit tree felling

The situation with illicit tree felling and illegal timber sales in the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia is very serious. Valery Roshchupkin, the head of the Federal Forestry Agency, told a meeting held by the presidential envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District that his agency had devised a principally new system of forest monitoring. Forestry officials exercise control using space digital survey and aerial photography that enables them quickly to find an area where felling is happening and to establish if it is illegal or not.

Checks in the Khabarovsk and Maritime territories revealed serious legal violations in timber procurement. In 2004 and the first quarter of 2005, illicit tree felling was registered on an area of 16,000-17,000 hectares. The inspection of several areas in the Khabarovsk Territory found 48,000 hectares of illegally cut trees. The checks of two forestry farms in the Maritime Territory revealed illegal forest felling on an area of 22,000 hectares.