Kharkov Forest Sokolniki-Pomerki is the biggest in Ukraine. Its area reaches 1,825 ha, which makes up over 87 % of all Kharkov forestry.
Oaks (English oak) make up most trees in the forest . There are long-living trees over 100 years old. Besides, maples, lindens, asps, pines, wild apple and pear trees and many other trees species grow in Kharkov Forest. By the woodside and in the underwood you can find hazel, euonymus, arrow-wood, hawthorn, elder and sloe. The forest is abundant in valuable herbage plants, flowers and medicinal herbs. Kharkov Forest is a home for lots of animals, birds and insects species. What is more, children are often able to watch some animals (for example, squirrels) at arms length.
Along with its undeniable ecological value, Kharkov Forest is a favorite recreation area for Kharkov dwellers all the year round and hosts mass sporting events.
The possibility to spend several hours in a real forest without even leaving the city is priceless for every Kharkov dweller. The chant of birds, forest herbs odor, fresh air, natural colors and hints help to harmonize the psychological state, to restore emotional balance and to relax the chronic stress of a megapolis resident. No one can deny the profit of such walks for both physical and mental health of Kharkov dwellers.
The American Forests NGO stresses that planted land should cover 40 % of an ecologically healthy city. This quantity of trees is necessary to effectively clean air from NO2, SO2 and CO. In other words, Kharkov needs 12,400 ha of the planted land while at present it has only 2,094 ha (less than 17 % of the required area).
Nevertheless, even this green belt area vital to Kharkov dwellers is aggressively exterminated and developed:
This is a Kharkov Forest map; the red marks are for areas, illegally rendered for clearance and building up (the map does not show Soviet-time recreation centers and closed territories).
Crimes against Kharkov Forest:
1. Sewage discharge, the ravine bogging.
2. Extermination of clearances, truck wheel tracks, obstructions, heaping glades up with litter (Quarter 27 through 33 from Belgorod Road).
3. General tendency to destroy (to hamper reconstruction) all recreation places: clearings, gardens (along Belgorod Road, Quarters 19 and 18, near the ski lodge, in the ravine), all pavilions (there were 15 of them ten years ago), sports centers (near Piatykhatky and in Quarter 49).
4. Building of cottages in Quarters 19 and 18.
5. Power line construction, which led to devastation of recreation places, such as the ravine, all ski slopes and to extraction of 400-year-old oaks (Quarters 50, 51, 45, 37,38).
6. Building of detached cottages, blocking of clearances (at the entry to %uFFFDStroitel%uFFFD).
7. Building of restaurants %uFFFDSherwood%uFFFD, %uFFFDDubki%uFFFD with subsequent seizure and littering of the adjacent territory.
8. Building of a filling station in front of Kharkov Aviation Institute, littering of the territory.
9. Building of cottages on the Sosnovaya hill, its destruction and littering of the territory.
10. Road projecting through the Gorky park
11. Road projecting from Alekseyevskaya metro station through the forest, deforestation in the Alekseyevka district
12. Building of cottages near Lake Komsomolskoye in the Sokolniki area
13. Seizure of Quarters 54, 53, 68 from Kharkov Forest (in front of Lesnoyu) %u2013 approximately 50 hectares
14. Wood-felling near the Kharkov Memorial
15. Construction planning in front of Memorial (near Kharkov Aviation Plant)
16. Selling of the former VDNKh exhibition for construction (between Lesnoyu and Kharkov Aviation Institute) %u2013 approximately 4 ha
17. A park-house, fencing around Stroitel, Tempu, Iskra, along the Belgorod Road, Quarters 27, 26, 33, 40, 39, 12, 19, 11, 18 (approximately 200 hectares).
18. The golf field expansion in Piatykhakky (28 hectares)
19. Selling of forest areas adjacent to the golf field for private lots.
20. Selling of the forestry-owned forest near the 17th cemetery for weekend houses construction with false documents 70 hectares.
21. Dumps along the whole Kharkov Forest perimeter, in Lyshki, beyond Zhokovsly settlement
22. Destruction of the footpath from City Park to Piatykhatky along Belogorod Road.
If Kharkov community does not stop the building process in Kharkov Forest now, the forest area will be reduced approximately by 60 %
The damage done to the city ecology and to the Kharkov dwellers life quality can be neither calculated nor expressed in material terms.
It is our duty to protect our forest! We ll never have another one!