Poland cutting down Bialowieza Forest: Environmentalists alert

Poland cutting down Bialowieza Forest: Environmentalists alert

Poland has begun logging in the Bialowieza Forest. The decision is due to environmental considerations, authorities say. It is reported that the reason is the unsuccessful fight of foresters against bark beetle. Now almost 200,000 square meters of the primeval forest is being cut down.

Such actions were sharply criticized by scientists and environmentalists. According to them, bark beetle activity is a natural phenomenon, and this explanation is nothing more than a pretext. Several non-governmental environmental organizations have sent a complaint to the European Commission noting that these actions violate the EU directive. According to the authors, the decision is based on economic rather than ecological considerations.

Earlier, the new Minister of Environment of Poland, Jan Szyszko, spoke about the wasted potential of the forest. 

Note that the Bialowieza Forest is included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage. Areas that are under protection are located on both sides of the Belarusian-Polish border. Mass deforestation can lead to a loss of Bialowieza Forest conservation status in UNESCO.  

Vadim Tsinkevich, Deputy Director General for Research and Innovation of the Scientific and Practical Center for Bioresources of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus:
Bialowieza Forest is a so-called cross-border nature reserve, which is covered by the UNESCO decision to recognize the area a World Heritage Site. Scientists are concerned that if excessive number of trees is cut down, Bialowieza Forest will lose its World Heritage status.

Natalia Minchenko, head of the Department of Biological and Landscape Diversity of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus:
We intend to ask the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Poland to comment on the situation. Unfortunately, now we cannot assess whether there has been any real harm to the Polish part of the Bialowieza Forest. If we see that there really is some concern about the status of the forest (we very much cherish it and know that Bialowieza is famous not only in Europe but all over the world), we will certainly take measures to prevent it.