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Pipeline brings pest threat to Siberian forests

24 July 2008

Construction of the East Siberia – Pacific Ocean oil pipeline will endanger 4 million hectares of forest, according to official sources. There are a total of 1.1 billion hectares of forest in Russia and the area where the pipeline is being built is now under threat by the Asiatic gypsy moth. Traces of the insects were first discovered last autumn in the packing material of the steel pipes for the pipeline. The pipes are being imported from China by Transneft.

Moths have been found in pipe packing
Moths have been found in pipe packing

Traces of the moth are now being found in the area of the pipeline construction and at increasing distances from it. Questions have been asked about increased sanitary control at the Russian-Chinese border, but no authority or funding can be found to carry out stricter checks. The authorities have suggested that the import of the pipes be stopped until the problem can be controlled.

The Asiatic gypsy moth is spreading through the Sakha Republic. It causes trees to dry out and increases the risk of forest fires. The insect can also cause an allergic reaction in humans. The incidence of allergic reaction to the moth is as high as that of hay fever.

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