Daghestan’s Samur Forest is now on the list of five oldest forests in Russia under threat. The list was compiled by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
According to a statement from WWF, Samur Forest is second in the list, after the area where the River Pinega meets the Northern Dvina, in the northern Arkhangelsk Oblast.
‘The main threats to the forest are recreational and economic development of the territory, leading to a reduction of the forest’s area and violation of the hydrological regime of the Samur’, the statement reads.
Roman Mnatsekanov, senior coordinator of the Russian Caucasus regional WWF office, told OC Media that while its status as a federal reserve already provides some protection, turning the area into a national park could help to save the forest.
‘We consider it necessary to preserve Samur Forest, as well as other sites along the River Samur’, he explained. According to Mnatsekanov, over the last year, expeditions were organised with daghestani experts to assess the forest; he expects that it will be turned into a national park in 2018. According to him, concern about Samur Forest stems from the fact that it is the only surviving large area of liana forest in Russia.
‘21 million hectares of intact forest have been lost in Russia over the last 13 years — 7.5% of the country’s total. The speed of deforestation of intact forests per year is 1.6 million hectares — six times the area of Moscow’, according to WWF.