Crime

Illegal logging and transportation of firewood trees exposed in Georgia

Georgia: The Department of Environmental Supervision of the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture has revealed several cases of illegal logging and transportation of firewood trees in the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Samegrelo regions of Georgia.

According to the department, on December 28, 2023, near Akhaldabi village in Borjomi municipality, a citizen was caught transporting eight units of illegally obtained Sochi-type trees and plants by car. The fact contains traces of criminal offence, and the materials will be sent to the appropriate investigation authority.

On the same day, in the village of Zghvaish of Tsalenjikhi municipality, another citizen was found to have illegally obtained three units of tree plants of the type Cripromia and cut the branches of four units of tree plant. Relevant documentation has been completed, and the materials will be shipped in due order.

The department said that it implements strict control on the illegal acquisition, transportation and realization of firewood trees in the pre-New Year period, especially in regions where there are firewood forests. 

Also, preventive measures are being taken at the entrance to the city, in residential areas, and on motorways. Places of realization will be actively checked in the capital – for example, the sports palace, train station, and subway stations.

The department warned that illegal extraction of firewood, as well as violation of transportation and realization rules, are subject to a fine of 500 to 2000 Gel, which adds to the damage caused to the environment.

Illegal logging is a serious problem in Georgia, as it threatens the biodiversity, carbon storage, water purification and livelihood benefits of the forest ecosystems. 

According to the Environmental Supervision Department, 204 cases of illegal logging were recorded in July 2023, and 210 cases were recorded in April 20232. The eastern region of Kakheti had the highest number of cases, followed by Samtskhe-Javakheti and Adjara.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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