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Cutting or damaging conifer trees punishable by law in Kazakhstan 28 ноября 2013, 20:13

Cutting of 7 or more conifer trees in Kazakhstan is a criminal offense in Kazakhstan.
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©Marat Abilov ©Marat Abilov
Cutting of 7 or more conifer trees in Kazakhstan is a criminal offense in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports citing the press-service of the Environment and Water Resources Ministry of Kazakhstan. "Destruction or damaging of 1 conifer tree during pre-Christmas season - November and December - shall be punished with a fine of 25 965 tenge ($170) to compensate the damage. In cases of Illegal cutting of several conifer trees, the offenders shall be subject to an administrative fine and shall face a lawsuit demanding compensation of the damage done to the forestry. In case of 7 or more conifer trees are cut and the size of the fine exceeds 173 thousand tenge ($1,128) the offenders shall be subject to a criminal liability," the message says. "Over the past five year Astana has been using only artificial trees to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. More than 500 raid teams, consisting of state inspectors, forest security and environmental police, are operating in Kazakhstan to prevent illegal cutting of conifer trees. Besides, 320 control stations have been set up near forestries," the press-service says. The Ministry has been limiting cultivation and sales of natural conifer trees intended for Christmas holidays over the past years. The number of the trees cultivated specially for Christmas in Kazakhstan and sold on the holiday eve has been reduced from 40 thousand to 10 thousand trees over the past decade. However freshly cut conifer trees are often imported into Kazakhstan from neighboring countries so those who favor natural trees for Christmas can usually buy one for around $100 give or take. Sales of Kazakhstan-bred uncut conifer trees in large garden pots for Christmas is not being restricted in any way. "The Ministry is calling the citizens to abstain from using natural conifer trees for Christmas and New Year" and replace them with artificial ones for save the nature, the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources of Kazakhstan says. Kazakhstan President Nursulatn Nazarbayev also recently called to make Kazakhstan a green country. Over the past 14 years -- since 1998 -- 600 square kilometers of lands around Astana have been planted with trees and another 160 square kilometers were planted with trees inside the city. This is a goal to plant a forest around Astana that would be large enough to connect with the forest of Akkol and further on with Borovoe resort forest. 630 square kilometers of forest is being planted in Kazakhstan every year as part of Zhasyl Yel (Green Country) state-run project. Astana's share in this amount makes 5 square kilometers.

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