Despite the war, Ukraine continues to implement the nationwide program “Green Country”, which, in particular, provided for the planting of 1 billion trees to increase the country’s forest cover. However, at the same time, in the areas where forests can successfully grow on their own due to favorable conditions, they are often cut down. This mainly applies to self-seeded forests that have grown on the territory of former agricultural lands.
We found out how many self-seeded forests there are in Volyn, how they are managed, and whether there is a chance to provide them with the same protection as official state forests.
According to the data of the Polissia Forestry Office of the state enterprise (SE) “Forests of Ukraine”, there are currently 6.8 thousand hectares of such forests in Volyn and Rivne Oblast. Their total area is almost twice as large as the area of the regional center of the city of Lutsk.
Periodically, scandals arise in Volyn due to the ruthless cutting of such forests that grow on agricultural land. For example, this has been done for a long time by tenants and owners of agricultural land around the village of Omelne of the Kivertsi community.
The local authorities note that they have nothing to do with logging, and they do not plan logging on the communal lands, they are responsible for. Instead, activists and conservationists demand more rational management and protection for forests that have been growing for more than 30 years.
The state forestry also states that they regularly ask local communities to hand over forests to take them under their care. However, it is recognized that arranging and maintaining forests is quite expensive and requires significant resources.