A unique steppe is being turned into a forest: environmental activists raise the alarm in Mykolaiv region facebook.com/UkrainianNatureConservationGroup

A unique steppe is being turned into a forest: environmental activists raise the alarm in Mykolaiv region

Katerina Belousova

Eco-activists call to stop the afforestation of Oleksandrivska Balka and to create a reserve

Environmental activists from the Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group said that foresters have plowed 100 hectares of the steppe Oleksandrivska gully in Mykolaiv region for forest planting and have already planted tree seedlings on part of it.

The gully is one of the largest and, in terms of biodiversity, the most valuable gullies in the region, UPG reports on Facebook.

The environmental activists said that the gully is home to a number of endemic and Red Book plants, including spring ergot, Scythian drupe, hairy feather grass, and Lessingia. They also found habitats of reticulated saffron and multicolored brandushka.

The UHNR noted that 25 years ago, Oleksandrivska Balka was planned to be included in the Yelanetska Steppe reserve. And in 2022, the Bashtanka Forestry agreed to create a reserve on this territory.

The report emphasized that since the beginning of the Green Country program, the state enterprise Forests of Ukraine has promised not to plant forests in steppe areas. In addition, this contradicts the Forest Code of Ukraine and the Rules of Forest Reproduction.

"We insist on preserving Oleksandrivska Balka. The afforestation of its areas must stop! In addition, it is necessary to create a nature reserve as soon as possible," the UPG emphasized.

Earlier, EcoPolitic wrote, that in 2021, experts expressed concern that instead of improving Ukraine's environment, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy's initiative to plant a billion trees could harm biodiversity and the ecosystem.

As EcoPolitic previously reported, in Mykolaiv region, a court returned four ancient mounds in the Bashtanka and Pervomaisk districts from private ownership to the state as part of agricultural land.

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