A coalition of environmental groups has voiced concerns about plans to restart logging in the Białowieża Forest.
A coalition of groups including ClientEarth, Foundation Wild Poland, Greenmind Foundation, Greenpeace Poland, Workshop for All Beings and WWF Poland have criticized the State Forests Corporation’s plan.
The Białowieża forest is almost unique in mainland Europe, with untouched pristine woodland home to hundreds of natural treasures such as the European Bison and the three-toed woodpecker.
According to the Gazeta Wyborcza, the State Forests Corporation plan to cut down hundreds of thousands of trees, during the next three years.
In a joint statement, the coalition explained their concerns: “This is a blatant contradiction to UNESCO decisions, may violate EU directives and rekindle the conflict around our most valuable forest. Wounds inflicted by [former environment minister] Jan Szyszko have not yet healed in the Bialowieza Forest, and the state forestry company is making a fresh attempt to start commercial logging.”
To continue with the logging, the Forest States must add new logging permits to their forest management plans. However, doing so might lead to the the Białowieża Forest being removed from UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
Last April, the EU Court of Justice ruled that Poland broke EU law by increasing timber logging in a protected primeval forest.
At the time, Sergiy Moroz, Senior Policy Officer for Water and Biodiversity at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) declared that the ruling was “a resounding victory for Europe’s nature and wildlife – and the EU laws that protect them for future generations.”