Polish government gives unclear signal on fate of UNESCO-listed forest
PR dla Zagranicy
Minister of the Environment Jan Szyszko avoided confirming on Sunday whether a plan to fell parts of the Białowieża Forest in eastern Poland would go ahead.
Minister of the Environment Jan Szyszko. Photo: PAP/Artur Reszko
It had been expected that the minister would reveal at a conference on Sunday whether over 300,000 cubic metres would be felled, amid claims that pests such as the European spruce bark beetle necessitate a major logging drive.
However, Minister Szyszko said that one third of the forest would be left to its own devices, to see if a lack of human intervention was feasible.
Meanwhile, he stated that inventories would continue in the rest of the forest, potentially leading to the felling.
On Saturday, environmentalists had held demonstrations in 11 Polish cities, protesting against the prospective felling.
“Announcing the next inventory is only postponing the necessary decisions,” said Robert Cyglicki, head of Greenpeace Poland – which opposes the felling – on Sunday.
Cyglicki argued that a large part of the scientific community was excluded from Sunday's conference.
He also said the conference organizers rejected the possibility of a representative of the European Commission giving a lecture at the event. (nh)