Hi everyone. I thought you might like to know about something that is happening which has caused me great concern. I am contacting everyone I know who cares about trees in the hope that between us we can make a difference:
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics development in southern Russia is going to carve a swathe of destruction through the Mzymta valley in which the tallest trees in Europe grow. The planned Olympic complex in the village of Krasnaya Polyana and the rail, road, power and communications links between it and Adler might result in these unique trees being lost forever for what is in reality a 2-week sporting event!!
As we speak there is a conference discussing the architecture of the development so we need to bring these concerns to their attention NOW.
I've managed to contact the guy who, in 1997, discovered the tallest tree measured so far (a 78m Caucasian Fir) and he gave me the name of a contact at the Caucasus National Reserve to whom I've just sent an email requesting more information and to bring these trees to their attention in case they have been overlooked amongst all of the other concerns brought about by the Olympics Project.
I hope he replies with good news... if not then I'm not yet sure what can be done but I will put the concerns 'out there' as well as contacting the UNEP. I will keep you updated and if anyone reading this thinks they can help in some way then please let me know.
Good luck working on that Michael. Being "green" is a such a popular public stance these days for big corporations and multi-national organizations like the IOC (International Olympic Committee). It seems like with facts in place (tree heights, locations etc.) and the right supporters (international environmental advocacy organizations) there's a chance to protect the forest area in question.
I'm just a guy sitting at his computer - the best I can do is to tell the right people. If anyone reading this message is able to be influential in some way or knows anyone who can then please do what you can!
They're building the development now so this is urgent!!
Adler is a district of Sochi at the mouth of the Mzymta and hosts the coastal cluster of developments. Krasnaya Polyana is upstream by the Mzymta and hosts the mountain cluster of developments with the sliding areas upstream of it on the ridges within 10km of Krasnaya Polyana. We only know that the 78m tree is upstream of Krasnaya Polyana.
What concerns me even more is that the whole area probably has not been surveyed for canopy height properly and that many of the tallest trees in Europe may be lost without anyone even realising. I can't see the Russian Government allowing a LiDAR survey, can you?
I believe the latest is that anyone who would dare criticize the construction of the Sochi site, and protest the destruction of beautiful pristine habitat, is to be labeled a terrorist. As George Orwell might have said, under totalitarianism, two and two make five.