Socio-ecological Union

The Newsletter of
the Socio-Ecological Union
A Center for Coordination
and Information

Moscow, Russia -- Issue 4(26), April, 2002






The action of "The Journalist" magazine to support Grigory Pasko.

  April 9, by initiative of "The Journalist" magazine a letter with requirement to exempt Grigory Pasko was directed to Russian authorities. Among them are the President of Russia, the Chairman of Government, the Minister of Defense, the Director of FSB (Russian Security Police), the Minister of Justice, the Chairman of the Supreme Court, the General Public Prosecutor.

  Under the letter there are more than 50 signatures of leaders of Russian and CIS influential public organizations. It says:
  "The Russian citizen Grigory Pasko was publicly humiliated, deprived of an officer rank, state awards and arrested. And again it was on the ground of quite far-fetched pretext. Pasko was accused because of exercising constitutional right and publication of an important information about environment, which is certainly open according to the Constitution of Russian Federation.
  Instead of finding and punishing those who has neglected the right of the citizens to live in healthy environment, the courageous journalist who has told the truth about infringers of the law is punished.

  Grigory Pasko is already acquitted by the society, for rights of which he struggled. But not by they ones, who rescue him for the truth. Now the authorities want to subject him to one more humiliation.
  This journalist and ecologist, who recently worked in presidium of the Civil Forum together with the President of Russia and the Chairman of Government, where he has acted excellent on behalf of journalistic community, will meet his 40-year's anniversary (May 19, 2002) in prison.

  We can't allow that!
  We demand Grigory Pasko to be realeased from the prison.
  We demand a fair and independent court for Grigory Pasko.
  We demand to hold responsible those who organized prosecution of the journalist.

  From "The Mass-Media and Society" department of "The Journalist" magazine: Dear colleagues! We are still collecting signatures in support of Grigory. April 9 we have send this letter to the addressees and we don't know, how will they react and whether Grigory will be free by his 40-year's anniversary. But in any case you can celebrate the anniversary of Grigory Pasko by the actions of support.

  To support the action you can send your messages to:
Russian President Vladimir Putin -
fax +7(095)206-07-66
Pressidental Press-service -,
Presidental Administration - +7(095)206-31-78
Supreme Court of Russia - fax +7(095)293-55-84

  You can also direct your congratulations for Grigory on the electronic address of Anna Selesnjova, Vladivostok:
  All messages will be handed to Grigory Pasko.



  The legendary Russian taiga - the world's largest forest- is not the virtually endless wilderness it is often thought to be. Only about a quarter remains in large roadless areas that are undisturbed by modern land use, says a new report released today in Moscow and Washington by Global Forest Watch (GFW).
  The Atlas of Russia's Intact Forest Landscapes will be presented to international public in April was produced by GFW Russia, a country-wide non-governmental network of major environmental and research organizations. GFW Russia has carried out a systematic and detailed inventory of Russia's entire forest zone, looking for disturbances such as logging, mining, and associated roads and fires. Thousands of satellite images were used along with hundreds of ground observations to verify the result. Some field expeditions spent weeks in roadless territory in search of intact wilderness.
  "If you don't map it you can't manage it", says Dmitry Aksenov of the Socio-Ecological Union International, one of the authors of the atlas, "Governments and corporations don't collect this information. This is why Global Forest Watch has to do it."
  The result is a practical guide to precaution. More than a hundred detailed maps (mostly in the scale of 1:1500000) are used to present the precise boundaries of Russia's remaining intact forest landscapes.
  A total of 289 million hectares (26 percent) of Russia's forests remain in areas that have no signs of infrastructure or modern land, and are at least 50,000 hectares (123,500 acres) in size (intact forest landscapes).
  Approximately 5 percent of the intact forest landscapes have special protection at the Federal level. The system of protected areas in most administrative regions and ecological regions of Russia is inadequate in representation and size to reflect the conservation needs of intact forest landscapes.
  Eastern Siberia is the most pristine with 39 percent of the forest zone in intact forest landscapes, followed by the Russian Far East (30 percent) and Western Siberia (25 percent). European Russia is by far the least pristine with only 9 percent intact. Anthropogenic fire regimes affect large areas in northern Siberia and the Far East. A belt across southern Russia is the most affected by modern land use. Temperate broad-leafed and mixed conifer-broad-leafed forests are at special risk. Intact forest landscapes may disappear within whole ecological regions or even vegetation zones without decisive action during the next few years.
  "This Atlas breaks new ground," says author Alexander Isaev, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, forest minister of the USSR in the Gorbachev administration, "Russia is the first country to document its forest heritage in this way. Other countries must follow, so that we get a global picture."
  The organizations behind Global Forest Watch Russia include Socio-Ecological Union International, Biodiversity Conservation Center, Greenpeace Russia, International Forest Institute, R&D Center ScanEx, and Transparent World (all Moscow), the Fund for 21st Century Altai (Barnaul), the Friends of the Siberian Forests (Krasnoyarsk), and the Bureau for Public Outreach Campaigns (Vladivostok). Global Forest Watch is an initiative of the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC.
  The work has been supported by the home furnishing company IKEA, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Turner Foundation, and the World Resources Institute. The work has benefited from software donated by Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. and ERDAS Inc.
  GFW Russia was founded in 1999 in Krasnoyarsk.

  Atlas of Russia's Intact Forest Landscapes:
For more information: Dmitry Aksenov,

The campaign to support Polistovsky reserve.

  In the Pskov region the state natural reserve Polistovsky is under threat. The authorities of the region attempt to the part of reserve territory. They wish to remove border and to withdraw 2000 hectares of its land. Almost each reserve during the history collided with problem that the local residents don't accept a reserved mode in protected territory. In Polistovsky reserve this conflict has arisen since its creation. 7 years passed but local residents still can't accept prohibition to harvest cranberry in the reserved territory.
  The social and economic situation in the region is worse than ever: picking cranberry became one of main sources of existence for local population. But instead of ensuring worthy existence to local people, the local authorities are ready to destroy valuable reserve. April 19 - 28 the ecological public organizations are holding fax-campaign to support the Polistovsky reserve. The campaign is dated to the Earth Day, its aim is to affect the opinion of region authorities and not to give to destroy the reserve.
  The reserve Polistovsky (36 thousand ha) - the one of the first marsh reserves is located in the eastern part of Pskovskaya Region and was founded in 1994. The reserve is located within the southern taiga bog complex of the Polistovo-Lovatskaya system of high muskegs (moss bogs), one of the greatest in Europe.
  The relief is lowland valley between the rivers Lovat and Polist with several large lakes Russkoye, Krugloye, etc. The main area (31 thousand ha) is occupied by bogs, high sub-shrub muskegs mainly made up of brown bog moss, Chamaedaphne calyculata, heather and cranberry. Forests (4.1 thousand ha) are present, with grass aspen forests and birch forests with an additional mixture of lime, maple and oak. Parts of the spruce and pine forests remain. Elk, alpine hare, wood grouse, black grouse are usual. Of rare species in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation there are: golden eagle, fish hawk, white-tailed eagle and black stork.
  The large cranberry fields on the territory of the reserve are the apple of discord between the local residents and the management of reserve.
  Despite of this uneasy situation, the employees of reserve trying to solve this problem. They have offered to local authorities to restore the drained bogs and to set them by cranberry. The reserve employees will do what they can to help. But it is impossible to permit the gathering of cranberry in reserved territory, it is unlawful and contradicts the sense of creation of reserve. Cranberry fields of reserve are not unique near Tsevlo village. There are other fields where the local residents able to reach. The local administration, which is so alarmed with convenience of the voters, can deliver the cranberry collectors in not reserved territory, to more remote places of the gathering of berries. Besides it's necessary to solve social and economic questions, first of all to create workplaces.

  You can support the campaign by sending your messages to the SEU Press-service


  Illegal picking and sale of rare plants, blossoming in spring is the very sore problem for all southeast of Russia, and in particular, for Volgograd and Volgograd region.
  Annually in the markets of city it is possible to observe the same picture: brisk sale of spring primroses (snowdrops) begins in February - March (usually in the period from February, 14 till March, 8). Local dealers offer wild-growing plants, first of all, brought of Krasnodar and Stavropol territory (cyclamens, snowdrops, hellebores). Hardly later - by the end of March, in April - the assortment is sharply increased due to local wild-growing kinds (goose onions(bows), bulbocodium multi-coloured, a tulip two-floral, tulip of Gesner, tulip of Birberstain, a hazel grouse Russian, low iris, a glade Siberian, a lily of the valley May, and others).
  To stop this situation it's possible only with the joint coordinated actions of the regional state and public ecological NGO's. First it's necessary to improve the regional legislation in the field of wildlife conservation. Now there is no Red book of the Volgograd area, there are no special laws and the decisions of Regional Duma regulating use of wild-growing plants, there is no appropriate mechanism of the control of execution of these laws. Therefore suppression of illegal gathering and trade in wild-growing colors is extremely complicated.
  But there isn't time to wait for acceptance of laws. Therefore, since 2002 members of NGO "The Regional centre of biodiversity studying and conservation" and "The Green Orbit" with assistance of Volgograd regional administration's Committee on preservation of environment have developed regional operation "Snowdrop".
  They have prepared a package of information materials: the reference to citizens, the poster with the image of local kinds of the plants listed in the Red book. All these materials were distributed on city schools, in large shopping centers and supermarkets of the town.
  It is important to note, that "Eltonsky" national park created recently in territory of the Volgograd region has active participate in the operation "Snowdrop". At the territory of the park were kept the unique dry-steppe sites which avoided of total ploughing up in the Soviet times. At the end of April the tulip fields blossom there.

  To see the pictures of the rare plants, go to

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  This issue was written and complied by Sviatoslav Zabelin - the SEU Council Co-Chair,
  Olga Berlova, Victoria Kolesnikova