Poland has recently ratified large-scale logging in the Bialowieza forest, the last ancient woodland. The decision comes in an attempt to fight the spread of spruce bark beetle infestation, even if many ecologists together with the EU protested against it, according to The Guardian.
“We’re acting to curb the degradation of important habitats, to curb the disappearance and migration of important species from this site,” said Jan Szyszko, the environment minister.
The Bialowieza forest was marked out a Unesco World Heritage site back in 1979, but the protected areas won’t be a part of the logging plans, as Szyszko promised.
As The Guardian reported, loggers will have to harvest approximately 180,000 m3 of wood on a 10-year period, compared to the 40,000 m3 that had been settled in previous plans. Yet, Greenpeace accused Szyszko that he ignores the protests of many important institutions, such as the European Comission and Unesco.
The recently approved logging plans might violate EU’s Natura 2000 program in Poland and thus it would attract punishments.
The Białowieża forest spreads across 150,000 ha, reaching the Belarus border. It protects 20,000 animal species, 250 types of birds and 62 species of mammals. Its ecosystem hasn’t been affected for millennia, as the tallest trees in Europe are to be found there, among firs reaching 50 m high and oaks of 40 m high.