The goal of our Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Europe Section Blog is to share stories and relevant information about activities going on within our section and more broadly in the conservation community. Stories and articles shared on our blog should not be taken as an official position or statement of SCB or SCB Europe Section. Thank you for reading!

Friday, 1 December 2017

1-1=1? Little time left for the Polish Government to explain how destruction of Białowieża Forest is for its conservation

An update to recent posts on Białowieża Forest from Stefan Kreft, SCB Europe Section Policy Committee Chair 

The European Union Court of Justice has adopted the decision to give the Republic of Poland two weeks to explain all their pertinent activities in Białowieża Forest. The Polish administration has claimed that the ongoing deliberate destruction of Białowieża Forest is an effective protection measure in line with EU law. According to the Polish government forest cuttings are done just for the purpose of ensuring public safety. Allegedly, the EU Commission is ill-informed and misled by manipulated evidence. But can 1 (protection of the forest) minus 1 (destruction of the forest) equal 1 (forest protection)?

We invite everybody to scrutinize the material that the SCB Policy Committee have brought from Białowieża Forest, and shared in our recent blogs (here, and here). In particular, we have shown:

1. Extensive clear-cutting is ongoing in Białowieża Forest. 
2. Harvested wood is being piled up, tagged for being marketed and then carted away. 
3. Many old spruce trees are being cut that were abandoned by bark beetles years ago. 
4. Many trees of other species, naturally unaffected by bark beetle colonisation, are also being cut. An extremely high percentage of the remaining trees around logging sites are run over or damaged by falling trees and heavy machinery. 
5. Good forestry practice indeed prescribes ensuring public safety by selectively extracting unstable trees. We have observed, and documented, that clear cuts extend from forest roads deep into the Białowieża Forest area. If public safety is the reason for logging, then logs would be left lying in the forest. However, this is not the case (see above: item 2)

The list above of observations made by our Policy Committee members sets out key points that go against statements made by the Polish Government. The Polish government now has to publicly conform to the fact that 1 minus 1 equals 0, not 1, and change their behaviour.

If you suspect we may have actually not been there, but manipulatively recorded the material somewhere else, say, in a German or Austrian forest, then please refer to the Polish border patrol. Two polite gentlemen of the Polish executive checked the identity of some Policy Committee members at a forest road blockade of “Save Białowieża” activists close to Teremiski on Monday, 9 October 2017.

If the Polish government does not comply with the prompt of the EU Court until beginning of next week, then the country will be fined at least 100,000 Euros per day until it does.


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