Since May 2016, the Polish part of the Bialowieza Forest, a vast area of more than 140 000 ha registered at the UNESCO World Heritage, has been the subject of massive cuts. The previous Minister of the Environment, Jan Szyszko, pretends "sanitary cuts" because a large part of the spruces were affected by the bark beetle invasion. However, according to scientists, this phenomenon, which occurs approximately every 10 years, is a good part of the ecosystem. In addition, the deforestation of this primaeval forest, the oldest in Europe, would be a disaster for all the exceptional wildlife. For example, ¼ of the world's bison are in the Bialowieza Forest ...

In 2017 tree cutting intensifies; The Court of Justice of the European Union then orders "the immediate cessation of logging". But Minister Szyszko maintains his position. On Tuesday 17 October 2017, He declares at the CJEU that the cuts is a matter of public safety. The case is once again postponed.

Meanwhile, on the ground, dozens of environmental defenders challenge the rangers by patrolling the forest every day to spot the cuts. Everything is noted, recorded and sent to the European Commission. Sometimes, when there are enough, they perform punch actions like blocking a strategic waypoint. It is in an old school in the village of Teremiski, in the middle of the forest, that ecologists have established their headquarters from which they coordinate their peaceful actions in order to stop the ongoing deforestation and alert public opinion.

On Monday 20 November 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union announces that Poland will have to pay a fine of 100,000 euros per day if it does not immediately stop logging. For the first time, the government is clearly under threat. It is a victory for the activists because according to them, Harverster, machines used by the rangers, have not been heard since.

More recently, the new Minister of the Environment, Henryk Kowalczyk, said in a statement that "Poland will respect the final decision of the court concerning the Bialowieza Forest". If Bialowieza is preserved it will be a first battle won among many others to lead. Actually, defenders of the environment fear a simple relocation of logging.

Copyright © Benjamin Filarski All rights reserved.
Using Format