Russia loses 800,000 hectares of forest through illegal logging each year, says prosecutor; illegal timber accounts for about half of all timber produced in Russia and, in 2012, 75 million m3 of illegal timber left the country, senior officials told

MOSCOW , October 29, 2013 () – Russian annually loses more than 800,000 hectares of forest in illegal logging, Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Buksman told a meeting of senior officials at the Prosecutor General's Office on Tuesday as they were looking into the situation with the use of forests and timber turnover.

"Last year alone, 75 million cubic meters of illegal timber were taken out of the country," Buksman said.

"Illegal timber accounts for about half of all timber produced in Russia, while in the Amur and Arkhangelsk regions, it makes up almost 100 percent," the prosecutor added citing experts' estimates.

Meanwhile, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika stated at the Thursday meeting that inspections in the Far Eastern, West Siberian and Ural Federal Districts had exposed numerous violations of law in this field. "The results of additional checks show that the issues of forest protection should remain in constant focus of prosecutors and law-enforcement and supervisory bodies," Chaika said.

The prosecutor general criticized the slow-going work to take inventory of forest land and prevent illegal use of forest areas and abuses by officials in allocating them.

In 2013, prosecutors exposed more than 31,000 violations during checks into use of forest, opening 480 criminal cases; 5,000 officials were disciplined and faced administrative penalties.

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