DO RIVERS OVERFLOW THE BANKS?
home and foreign mass media the consequences of catastrophic floods in
Transcarpathia are very actively discussed.
Some authors, especially those, involved in forestry science and
practice, in every way give reasons for the absence of economic management
impact in mountains on the outcomes of flood. Others, on the contrary, confirm
in the aggressive form, that we have such catastrophic consequences owing only
to clear fellings of forests on slopes. The appeals are heard to find and make
answerable those who are guilty. Even the expressions from one Romanian
newspaper are quoted on the intention of Romanian government to take it into the
International Court to claim damages from Ukraine, incurred by this year flood
to the Tysa riverside Romanian counties. The generalized materials of the Slovak
press are also quoted, according to which one should seek the reasons of floods,
occuring for the last decades in Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and western regions
of Ukraine, in the methods of economy management in the Carpathians. We flatly
do not share the opinions of those who are searching for guilty. But
we speak in support of an objective analysis of the ecological reasons of
the catastrophic natural disasters, of the search of ways on the decrease of
their destructive impact in the future.
the last decades, regions of the Ukrainian Carpathians periodically incur great
human, material and moral losses from the catastrophic floods and other
ecological disasters. But the most affected from these natural disasters are
Transcarpathia and neighbouring European countries. Thus, in the result of flood
in 1970 on the rivers of Tysa and Prut, Hungary and Romania have incurred losses
equal to ten per cent of their annual national income. The floods of 1992-1993
have incurred losses to the Transcarpathian region in the amount equal to
hundred of millions of the U.S.A. dollars.
losses from floods of 1998 are
even larger. Great losses to national economy also incur
erosion processes, landslides and mud flows.
Therefore, declaration of the Transcarpathian region
as a zone of emergency ecological situation is especially actual.
The anxiety causes the fact, that in the adopted, in connection with this,
documents not a word is mentioned on the liquidation of reasons of the
catastrophic floods, generated by short-sighted human activity.
of the Transcarpathian region is a mountainous area. 9429 rivers with the total
lenght of 19866 km flow within its territory. The average density of their
network is 1.7 km per 1 sq. km,
and is the largest one in Ukraine. Taking into account all this, Transcarpathia
refers to the regions with a special ecological vulnerability.
despite this, in the course of many decades, without taking into account the
specificity of mountainous conditions, the unreasoned intensive management was and, is conducted!
here. The clear fellings of forests, unsystematic
construction of roads and skidding portages, oil- and gas-pipes, lines of
electrical transmission, ploughing up of the steep slopes, overpasturing of
cattle etc. are conducted in big amounts, especially from the post-war period.
In the opinion of ecologists the
environmental balance is disturbed here for a long time. And therefore, speaking
today on the reasons of catastrophic floods one should clearly realize that
beside natural cataclysmes, manifesting periodically in the form of excessive
precipitation, whatever the opponents may object,
nevertheless one of the main factors is excessive fellings of forests in
the past and the attendant management.
is entirely clear, that the percentage decrease of woodland,
lowering of the upper forest line, radical replacement of the age structure of
tree-stands, transformation of mixed forests into the monocultures in large
areas have essentially disturbed the water and hydrological regime of the
considerable watersheds. Mass clear fellings of forests in the mountainous part
of Transcarpathia have caused to the fact, that today young and middle-aged
tree-stands extend for seventy per cents, and in separate
forestries, e.g. Yasinianske forestry, where the upper watershed of the
Tysa river is formed, this index is higher and essentially exceed the limits of
scientifically substantiated standards. And it is known, that forest ecosystem
conducts in full measure the function of water regulation only at the age of 100
years and more.
to the conclusions of the academician M. A. Holubets the profound anthropogenic
changes of biocoenotic cover have stipulated the increase of the surface flow in
four times, and decrease of the total evaporation the evaporation of water,
lingering on the crowns of trees in 10 per cents. Besides, in the result of
great erosion processes in the mountains, the silting of the Tysa river beds and
its tributaries occurrs,
and thus also furthering the increase of water level in them. In accordance with
some calculations, the rivers of Transcarpathia annually carry out nearly 1.8
million tons of the solid sediments. In the period of
heavy rains this amount of sediments increase in several times, falls on the
bottom of rivers and change the
a conversation in all levels is hold on the fact, that for the last years the
forest fund in Transcarpathia, determined by the designed wood-cutting area,
is not enough developing. And it is true. But not enough is said that
now, timber fellings are quite often conducted along the river sides, mountain
streams and close to the motor-car roads. In many places the water-protected
forest zones are distroyed and even willows and alders along the banks are cut
eloquent confirmation of the fact, that from the regime of forest use depends to
the great extent the degree of losses incurred by floods can serve the virgin
forests of Uholsko-Shyrokoluzhanskyi massif of the Carpathian biosphere reserve.
In zone of their location neither in previous years nor today, the flood has
incurred such great losses, like for instance in the neighbouring
Ust-Chornianska valley, where there is if not the largest amount of fellings
may list many other constituent reasons of floods (liquidation of the existed
formerly dams, unsystematic disposing of gravel and stones, cluttering up of the
mountain streams by the remains of timber fellings, absence of the proper
riverside fortification etc.). But today it is reasonable to concentrate
together on the liquidation of consequences of natural disaster, on the
working-out of measures for the elimination of their reasons.
our deep convictions, notwithstanding the big amount of finances, allocated by
our state for the liquidation of consequences of the catastrophic floods, if
there is not reorganization of the national economic complex of the mountainous
part of Transcarpathia in regard to the development of ecologically harmless
types of activity, this land will allways be endangered not only with floods,
but also other natural calamities. Therefore,
considering these problems,
one may believe that first of all it is necessary to think of the limitation or
even refusal, as it was done in many mountainous countries of Europe, from clear
fellings of forest in the mountains. Such decision could be wholly consonant
with the Forest code of Ukraine, in the 3-rd clause of which is emphasized that
"forests of Ukraine... conduct mainly ecological (water-protected,
protective, sanitary-hygienic, sanitation, recreational) aesthetical, training
and other functions, have limited operational significance and are subjected to
inventory and protection". Secondly, taking into account the experience of
foreign countries, it is necessary to work out and introduce the State programme
of anti-flood measures, especially in the upper flow of the Tysa river and its
largest tributaries. Thirdly, with the aim of creation the favourable conditions
for the introduction of ecologically safe types of activity, in particular
development of tourism-recreational industry, to create special
ecologic-economic zones in the upper reaches of Tysa, in territory of the Rakhiv
district and other mountainous parts of Transcarpathia. And fourthly, to take
measures for the expansion of a network of objects of nature-protected fund,
first of all the territory of the Carpathian biosphere reserve, the model of
which enables to combine the activity on nature conservation with the interests
of local population.
attention should be paid to the problem, which was vividly manifested
after the flood. It is the problem
of everyday wastes. The condition of banks of the Tysa river and other rivers is
horrifying. Today they serve as the real rubbish chutes. All
riverside stands of trees, in the distance of several meters
height, from the remote mountainous settlements and, evidently, to the very
Danube river are shrouded in various everyday wastes, thrown out cellophane bags
and other needless things. All these threaten not only the rise of epidemics,
but also undermine the image of Ukraine. All the authorities concerned, should
carry on resolute struggle with
this shameful fact.
consider that the proposed measures will not only decrease the probability of
floods, but also create preconditions for the practical introduction in the
Carpathian region of the Sustainable Development Strategy, adopted at the UNO
conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
D. Hamor -
of the Carpathian
academician of the Ukrainian
Academy of Sciences,
of biological sciences
Newspaper “Holos Ukrainy” 26/01/1999