Verkhneyulovsky reserve: a compromise for the sake of the future

Январь 31, 2018

For over 16 years the future of Dvinsko-Pinezhsky Reserve has been under discussion. In 2001, scientists and specialists of environmental organizations drew attention to the high ecological value of wild forests in the interfluve of the rivers Northern Dvina and Pinega and proposed to create a reserve there. Numerous expeditions and studies have confirmed that this area is really very important for the conservation of rare plant and animal species, in particular wild reindeer, protection of salmon-spawning rivers and the maintenance of a favorable climate in the region. These forests are of great importance for locals, like hunting and fishing grounds, places for gathering of berries and mushrooms.

Creation of the reserve provides the termination of forest felling and removal of this part of the northern taiga from industrial turnover. The possibility of projecting a reserve was provided by the Government of the Arkhangelsk region with the relevant documents of forest and territorial planning, but for all these years the reserve has not been created. During this time, all forests in the territory of the future reserve were leased to a lot of logging enterprises. Creation of the reserve is not just a decision of the regional Government; it requires many approvals — with logging companies, local population, municipal and regional executive and legislative authorities.

And finally, after 16 years, in October 2017, the first real step was taken as for creation of the reserve — the largest forest tenants — Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill and the «Titan» Group of Companies — signed an agreement with the WWF on the coordination of the boundaries of the Specially Protected Natural Area in the interfluve of the rivers Northern Dvina and Pinega, passing through the territory on the area of 350 thousand hectares. Recently, Greenpeace has made a lot of claims to Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill and Titan Group, that the companies «cut down» forests in the territory of the projected SPNA. But the enterprises of Titan Group of Companies did not and do not harvest in these areas. Not a single cubic meter of wood was cut in the area where environmental organizations propose to create the reserve.

Today all interested parties — such as tenants, authorities and the population — have to reach a compromise — the reserve should be created, but we must take into account all interests, especially the interests of people living in these territories. After all, logging for them is the only source of work and life.

Over 500 years, logging has been the basis of the economy of the Pinezhskiy (Pinega) district. Working in logging enterprise is the meaning of life for locals and the future of their children. Now Ust-Pokshenga LPH for the residents of Pinega means not only working places and wages. The logging enterprise became the main source of investments in the social infrastructure.

The boundaries of the projected Verkhneyulovsky reserve are agreed with Titan Group of Companies and Arkhangelsk PPM — one of the main tenants of the forests in the interfluve of the Northern Dvina and Pinega. And this is a big step. But the following steps are also necessary: coordination with other tenants, coordination with municipalities and the regional government, and, mainly, with local residents. This is a large work, which must to be continued. In the meantime, while discussions and coordination are on, «Titan» Holding and Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill observe the signed moratorium agreements and do not harvest in the areas of the projected reserve.

The opinion about the future reserve, what means the forest for the Pinezhskiy (Pinega) region and why it is vital to take into account the viewpoint of the population, you may watch in the film.

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