In celebration of the “International Year of the Forest,” Russians from every corner of the country are rolling up their sleeves to help protect one of Russia's largest natural resources. RT caught up with the green enthusiasts.
Russia has more forests than any other country on the planet; it provides 22% of the world's forest cover, an area larger than the continental US.
In 2010, fires partially destroyed these renewable resources in Russia.
“In the Moscow region alone there were 2,200 fires, damaging 25,000 hectares of forest,” Aleksandr Mariev, from the Federal Forestry Agency, told RT. “A part of these forests will eventually die. At the same time, last year some 800,000 hectares of forests was restored, and 250,000 hectares were restored by planting new trees. Obviously, those newly planted trees need to be monitored and looked after, so this is not a plant-and-forget job.”
Citizens are taking up the call to action by spreading out and grabbing a shovel and a tree – near the city, or as far away as they can get in a weekend's time.
“Many people wanted to make a contribution to forests' revival,” Tatyana Chalaya, from Greenpeace Russia, told RT. “So we decided to revive a forest flattened by a hurricane several years ago. Usually coniferous trees are used to revive the forest. But we want to create something mixed. We're going to plant oaks, linden trees, ash trees, pines. This will help keep pests away.”
“Last year, we launched a program called ‘More Oxygen,’” Marina Kokorina, from the EKA public ecological movement, told RT. “In 20 Russians regions, we planted 1.5 million trees with high-school and university students. We hope that two years later the trees we are planting will become Russia’s new woods. Five years later, 5,000 new forests are to appear in this country, and we will monitor their state, and nurse them, and protect them from fire.”
Kokorina’s organization handed out trees at Gorky Park for replanting. So many people heard about the free trees that she ran out of them in under an hour.
The saplings will not be planted randomly around Moscow – by the weekend they will make their way out to people’s respective dachas, or country homes. Planted into the ground and then tended to, they will take 40 years before they reach maturity.
By posting your comment, you agree to abide by our Posting rules