Kucherla forest at risk for logging
Last summer, as I was riding along the Kucherla River through the protected lands of Mt. Belukha National Park, I looked across the valley and noticed a bright new wooden bridge across one of the tributary rivers. Because the steep, heavily forested land is essentially uninhabitable for humans, I was astonished. I asked the Altai horseman who was with me if the bridge was for homes? or a tourist base?
"Logging," he said.
"But isn't this park land?" I asked.
"Only on this side of the river," he answered.
The photo shows the at-risk birch/pine/larch forest on the far side of the river. Based on what I know of Altai culture, I can be pretty certain that the Altai people who are the stewards of this land will not be the beneficiaries of the logging. Although they do build wooden houses, the presence of that bridge indicates a capital investment well beyond what locals could afford -- which means that the lumber will be extracted and so will the profits, leaving behind clear-cut in a region with such extreme weather that regrowing the trees will take centuries.Heart-breaking!
Your donations enable the local people to continue their efforts to retain the rights to their traditional lands. "Foreign aid" (read "your donation") provided directly to the village elders is leveraged, not only to pay for the villages' sustainable land management efforts, but also to demonstrate for the people of this remote village that the world cares about primeval forests.