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Altai Logging Destroys Eagle Nesting Grounds

The forestry officials have proposed creating a nationwide database into which loggers would be required to input information about the timber they harvest.

Logging in the Altai Mountains is destroying the nesting grounds of several endangered eagle species, local environmentalists said.

The Siberian Environment Center said 22 nesting grounds had been lost due to logging in the region, according to a two-month study this summer.

"Destroying nests leads to the death of offspring of rare birds, and felling all old trees in the breeding ground leads to the end of breeding," the nongovernmental organization said in a statement.

"Trees were felled in [wildlife] sanctuaries at the very time of the expedition, when young birds of prey are still in the nest, and those that have begun to fly remain nearby and are still fed by their parents," the statement said.

White-tailed eagles, golden eagles, eastern imperial eagles, greater spotted eagles and eagle-owls are among the affected species, the group said. It said the logging had been authorized by regional authorities.

Illegal logging in the country produced 1.3 million cubic meters of timber in 2010, worth about 19 billion rubles ($600 million), Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

The Federal Forestry Agency, in an effort to catch illegal loggers, has proposed creating a nationwide database into which loggers would be required to input information about all the timber they harvest.

Timber companies have complained that the project's costs were unclear, making it impossible for them to calculate potential extra spending as a result of the new law.

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