Story on how hromada conquered the forest. Reportage from Serhiyivska AH
The Serhiyivska hromada in the Poltava Oblast not only understood how to manage 200 hectares of communal forest plantations, but also how to save several million hryvnias.
By Dmytro Synyak
Most of the former collective farms in the Poltava Oblast with the forest growing surprisingly fast eventually turned into a real jungle.
And if once people conquered the land back from the forest, now the forest has gone on a counter-attack.
Typical Serhiyivka planting: “Everything is fallen, twisted, stuffed with some kind of brushwood ...”
But once former pioneers came to the overgrown planting…. In just a few days, they made the planting look as before, however, only stubs with wide cuts is now left of the trees. And then the next generations planted young pines next to stubs...
At the communal power saw, the trees were cut into large blocks and subsequently transported to the backyard of Serhiyivka Secondary School. Last year, the school purchased a new boiler, designed for heating of 2.5 thousand square meter premises, for UAH 200 thousand saved. And now neither the workers nor the pupils know what the cold is like in classrooms.
“We used to freeze all the time because we had to save gas,” says Viktor Horb, director of the Serhiyivka school. “And now we have as much wood as we need and not less than 20 degrees in any class.”
In March last year, in the Tyachivska AH, our photographer tried to make a picture of a cart full of firewood with school-aged boys sitting nearby. However, when they saw the camera, they suddenly started hiding their faces.
“Why are they hiding?” I confusedly asked Ivan Krichfalushiy, secretary of the Tyachiv city council.
“These guys are most likely taking firewood from the so-called former collective farm forests: there are few of them here... We had an idea of getting these forest strips under control and even created a communal forestry for this purpose. But all in vain – at the Cabinet of Ministers’ level this initiative was cut off. And now, you see, people are cutting down forests...”
Ihor Lidovyi, head of the Serhiyivska AH and the main initiator of forest management in the hromada
“There are 13 small settlements in our hromada, and the forest immediately swallows up the empty human dwellings,” Mr Lidovyi, head of the Serhiyivska AH, continues. “Only five or ten years pass – and you have a thick forest in the place of a house...”
A truck of oak firewood costs about UAH 2500 in Serhiyivka, but local peasants are not very eager to pay this money. Why? After all, there is as much firewood near the house. This way few plantings were hollowed out, and the best wood was taken away around Serhiyivka, while the American maple and shrubs that are gradually turning the Central Ukrainian village into the wild west, were not touched.
When the State Geocadastre handed over 4,000 hectares of land outside settlements to the Serhiyivska AH, the number of cluttered plantings increased significantly in the hromada. And then Ihor Lidovyi decided to put an end to forest outrage, declaring a war to maple-sedge jungle.
The AH founded “Dobrobut” company. It hired 5 workers, and the same number of people are occasionally employed for various temporary work. Now, when it is necessary to cut down a particular tree or clear a forest strip, the director of Dobrobut creates a commission that determines the state of green areas and subsequently informs the State Environmental Inspectorate of the Poltava Oblast. And only then the chainsaws start their work.
Meeting on "forest issues". From left to right: Anatoliy Ilyashenko, director of Dobrobut company, Inna Panaseiko, head of Economic and Investment Sector, Valentyna Gal, head of Land Relations Department of the Serhiyivka Executive Committee, and Ihor Lidovyi, head of the Serhiyivska AH
Eventually, the battle began. For UAH 300 thousand the Serhiyivka village council bought the so-called mower-brushbreaker, which can cut green plantations at an angle of 45 degrees. Another UAH 120 thousand were invested by the hromada in the foundation of a communal power saw, which came under Dobrobut’s control. After a detailed and thorough audit, the Serhiyivska AH found 102 hectares of collective farm plantations, including 23 hectares of forest strips, as well as about 80 hectares of former collective forests grown on a formerly arable land. For all these territories, the hromada ordered passports from the Kharkiv State Forestry Expedition, which should indicate the tree species to be grown in the planting, the number of rows, etc. These passports are made for 10 years.
Ihor Lidovyi (right), Anatoliy Ilyashenko (left) and village council driver Valeriy Loboda near Serhiyivka village council
Economists of the Serhiyivska AH estimated that the maintenance of Dobrobut costs about UAH 400 thousand a year.
“A special advantage is that we now have our own power saw,” continues Ihor Lidovyi. “If we need planks to repair the sports hall, we buy some cubes of logs in the forestry and sawed them free of charge. Here, you already have extra savings!”
Thanks to the power saw, the hromada has planks at a price of raw materials
The AH cooperates with the forestry
The hromada has already agreed with the forestry manager on seedlings for roadside plantings and on a special plow the foresters have, for the hromada’s green fortune to grow every year, for the order to prevail everywhere and the forest to be tamed.
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