row in the forest in the wintertime

Renewed threat to Polish forest as government confirms illegal logging plan

Europe’s oldest forest is facing a renewed threat, after the Polish government confirmed that it will continue with illegal plans to massively increase logging in the World Heritage site despite protests from the European Commission and UNESCO.

The Polish Minister for the Environment is ignoring scientific evidence and appeals from conservation experts. This includes advice from Polish and international universities, all of which agree that increased logging would devastate this delicate ecosystem. Minister Szyszko, however, maintains that logging is the only solution to a bark beetle outbreak, which this year is more severe than usual.

ClientEarth lawyer, Agata Szafraniuk said: “Cutting more Białowieża trees is not just unscientific and unpopular. It’s also illegal. The forest is protected by EU conservation laws, meaning the government would have to assess how the increased logging would affect this unique natural site.

It has not done this and that’s why we lodged a complaint to the European Commission which led to the infringement procedure against Polish government in June 2016.”

UNESCO and scientists have repeatedly shown that bark beetle is one of the vital elements shaping the forest ecosystem, and that dead wood can be more important than a living tree as it is home to many rare and precious species, like the three-toed woodpecker.

Białowieża’s world heritage status – the only such site in Poland – could also be withdrawn, as happened in Germany and Oman.

Polish people are also strongly opposed to more logging in this priceless forest – already more than 160,000 people have signed a petition to urge the government to withdraw from the decision to increase logging in the Białowieża Forest.

Share this...
Share on Facebook! Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn! Email!

Teddy Kelley

Related articles

More from

  • Jan Szyszko

    Polish minister who ordered illegal logging of Bialowieza Forest dismissed

    Poland’s environment minister Jan Szyszko has been dismissed from his job. He was responsible for ordering a three-fold increase in logging in Bialowieza Forest – which ClientEarth and other environmental groups have fought.

  • winter

    2017: A big year for Białowieża Forest – and the battle to protect it

    We started 2017 determined to do all we could to help save one of the most precious forests in Europe, the ancient Białowieża Forest.

  • Bison to illustrate story about final EU court hearing on illegal logging in Bialowieza Forest

    Highest EU Court hears Bialowieza illegal logging case, hopefully for the last time

    The hearing that took place today at the Court of Justice of the EU should finally decide whether Polish environment minister Jan Szyszko broke the law when he allowed increased logging in Białowieża Forest. The verdict is expected in early 2018.

  • Poland, bison, and exemptions from nature protection laws

    ClientEarth is challenging two decisions allowing the killing of up to 40 bison in Eastern Poland. The European bison, an extremely rare animal, is under strict protection.

  • Follow us

    You can help

    Your support helps us use the law to protect your environment.