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The State Forests want to abolish the protection of a part of the Białowieża Forest. Environmentalists are protesting

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The State Forests want to abolish the protection of a part of the Białowieża Forest. As many as a hundred organizations have sent a protest to UNESCO against the removal of tens of square kilometers of land from strict protection and allowing the felling of trees there. Material from the “Poland and World” magazine.

Law and Justice does not let go of the forest. Once again, there are attempts to put the saws into motion again in the only primeval forest in Europe, included on the UNESCO heritage list.

The Institute of Environmental Protection – National Research Institute, commissioned by the Ministry of Climate and Environment, prepared a draft of an integrated management plan for the Białowieża Forest. It sounds bad, but in practice it’s even worse, say environmentalists, because as a result even 250-year-old trees in an area of ​​30 km2 may be excluded from strict protection.

– These are the oldest trees, witnesses of our history – says Sylwia Szczutkowska from the Workshop for All Beings. – They survived tsarism, two world wars, communism, but they may not survive management by the State Forests – he adds.

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The State Forests support the zone change project

The most emotional issue is the change in the boundaries of individual protection zones in Białowieża. In zones 1-3 – i.e. red, orange and light green, any activity of foresters is prohibited, in zone four – dark green – yes and this zone has been significantly extended.

– If we enter the Białowieża Forest with logging, it will turn out that we are barbarians who do not understand the world. The Białowieża Forest is not a forest in which anything can be cut down or zoned. This is 0.6 of the forest area in Poland. How can we discuss the protection of Polish forests at all if we want to cut down such a small and valuable area? – wonders naturalist Adam Wajrak.

The Regional Directorate of State Forests in Białystok supports the zone change project and emphasizes that it is not about logging. Foresters, as they say, want to protect the Białowieża Forest better and more effectively.

Białowieża ForestTVN24

– From the point of view of nature, environment, the Białowieża Forest and the habitats that occur there, it is much better to conduct active or passive protection of the forest on large complexes – says Jarosław Krawczyk, spokesman for the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Białystok.

And this, i.e. active protection of the forest, is what naturalists and ecological foundations fear the most. – The State Forests are constantly selling the fairy tale to the public that the forest cannot cope without a forester. And the Białowieża Forest is an example that a forest can do very well without a forester, emphasizes Łukasz Synowiecki from the Wild Carpathians Initiative.

The organizations sign the appeal to UNESCO

Non-governmental organizations remind that logging in the forest is an ecological crime, and the removal of old and dead trees that are home to thousands of organisms is a blow to the ecosystem, and new plantings are also unacceptable human interference in this unique forest.

– Entering with planting is another interference. It’s like ripping off a scab on a scarred wound and digging it all over again. The forest regenerates best on its own, points out Adam Wajrak.

– This is an area that is to be subjected to natural processes. This means that the forest can renew and die on its own, and people do not interfere and do not try to improve it, says Sylwia Szczytkowska.

More than 100 non-governmental organizations have so far signed up to the appeal to UNESCO to reject the draft changes by the Ministry of Climate and Environment. – We hope that these changes can be prevented. These changes will have to be agreed with the European Commission and the UNESCO secretariat. We hope that these two institutions will not agree to the proposed changes, says Adam Bohdan from Dzika Polska.

– The management plan for the world heritage site will be focused on protecting the Białowieża Forest – argues Jarosław Krawczyk.

We also heard about the Protection of the Forest in 2017, when illegal mass logging took place, then 200,000 cubic meters of wood were transported from the forest, and this was explained by the good of the forest and the attack of the bark beetle.

Main photo source: TVN24

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