Minister approves controversial logging plan for Poland's primeval forest
PR dla Zagranicy
Minister of the Environment Jan Szyszko approved a controversial logging plan on Friday for parts of the UNESCO-listed Białowieża Forest in eastern Poland.
Minister of the Environment Jan Szyszko at a press conference on Friday. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara
Szyszko said at a press conference on Friday that the logging will be carried out to protect parts of the forest from the European bark beetle.
However, one third of the Polish part of the forest is a national park, and it will not be affected by the logging.
Woodcutters working for the State Forests National Forest Holding were entitled to log 63,000 cubic metres of wood from 2012 to 2021.
However, with five years still to run, they have almost reached that quota.
Minister Szyszko has agreed for the quota to be trebled, arguing that the bark beetle, which is currently affecting about half a million trees, endangers the forest.
Environmentalists oppose felling
Nevertheless, environmentalists have argued that the forest has coped with the beetle for centuries. Protests against the action were held in 11 Polish cities earlier this month.
Greenpeace has stated that the beetles play “ a vital part in the forest’s development, providing better conditions for a handful of different types of woodlands and the creatures (mostly birds) that depend on them.”
Those opposing the logging include the State Council for Nature Conservation, the Nature Conservation Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Scientific Council of the Białowieża National Park.
Greenpeace Poland said in a statement on Friday that Minister Szyszko has “ignored the voice of the majority of citizens and scientists, as well as the European Commission, UNESCO and environmental organizations.
“This is not the end of the struggle for the forest, it is just the beginning,” Greenpeace stated. (nh/pk)