14:07 11.01.2017

Ecologists hope Rada bill on Carpathian primeval forests to be floored in Jan

KYIV. Jan 11 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Coordinator for environmental conservation police of the Ukrainian branch of the World Wildlife Fund Svitlana Matus has expressed the hope that a draft bill on preserving primeval forests will be considered by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in January.

"The legislative base for preserving primeval forests in Ukraine is non-existent, and that's why, together with civic organizations and the Ecology Ministry, we have taken the step of proposing a the requisite changes in the law, as well as adding the term "primeval forests" and measures to protect them … We hope that the bill will be floored for consideration in January. We need the help of lawmakers," Matus said during a press conference at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Wednesday.

She said changes are also envisioned for the Forest Code of Ukraine, the Administrative Criminal Code of Ukraine and the law of Ukraine "On the natural [land] reservation fund."

According to Matus, European legislation protects such forests from being cut down.

"We are not only preserving our Carpathians, but balancing our legislation, updating laws to European standards," she said.

"Primeval forests each year are growing smaller and smaller. There are less that 50,000 hectares left in Ukraine, and they are all not located in the same place. If we compare this with the land area of Kyiv, which is a little more than 84,000 hectares, then the total area of primeval forests in Ukraine is smaller than the land area of Kyiv. And every year it diminishes in size," she said.

As earlier reported, draft law No. 4480, on introducing changes to several legislative acts of Ukraine regarding the preservation of primeval forests in line with the Framework Convention on preserving and maintaining the stable development of the Carpathians was registered in parliament in April 2016. Some 13 lawmakers proposed the bill, which defines the term "primeval forests", as well as imposes a ban on cutting them down, including in vacation communities. Violations would be punishable by fines ranging from 50 to 100 untaxed minimum personal incomes.

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