Posted on 12 October 2016
Citizen patrols start guarding Ukrainian forests
Kiev - In the Carpathian region illegal logging is threatening both forest ecosystems and unique wildlife. The process of forest conservation involves many institutions with different competences, which take part in the establishment of a systematic approach and effective mechanism to prevent illegal activities. In Ukraine there is large number of violations in the forests which speaks for lack of consistency and no rigorous enforcement of the forestry laws. WWF-Ukraine has started a campaign to stop illegal activities in the Carpathian forests by empowering local volunteers to monitor and control the forest conditions.
Since May 2016 the project called "Forest Watch" has been training volunteers from Lviv and Kyiv regions on how to inspect for violations, where to report illegalities and how to quickly react. Building a community around this initiative, WWF-Ukraine is on its way to create a network of activists who will be able to detect any crime in the forests and to be ‘guards’ themselves. One of the duties of the Forest Watch patrols is to establish a dialogue with the institutions that are directly involved in forest conservation such as environmental inspectors, police, local authorities and forestry organizations. WWF-Ukraine is building a bridge between the citizens and the forestry authorities aiming to involve all parties and to establish effective protection of one of the most important ecosystems in our region.
The first extensive training took place on October 8th
2016, in Boyarka - Boyarka Forest Research Station. The training brought together 16 volunteers from Kiev and suburbs motivated to learn how to monitor for forest violations and to take actions to prevent illegal logging. The volunteers are with different backgrounds – some of them are members of civil society organizations, others are protection inspectors of nature reserves who want to expand their knowledge and skills; some are activists, tourists, or people who love the nature and want to be part of the forests preservation in the Ukraine forests.
During the training the volunteers learned about forest management and monitoring processes, relevant legislation and documentation, how to evaluate the state of a tree and to calculate the amount of harvested wood. During the field trip in Boyarka Forest Research Station the volunteers were able to practice work with callipers and altimeter, learned how to correctly measure trees and worked at a fixed sequence of forest violations in different types and stages of cutting.
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