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Białowieża’s world heritage status – the only such site in Poland – could also be withdrawn, as happened in Germany and Oman.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

  • Bialowieza Forest tree trunk

    15 judges at the EU’s highest court to rule on illegal logging in Białowieża Forest

    Judges from the EU’s highest Court have heard arguments from Poland’s Environment Minister and the EU Commission on illegal logging in Białowieża Forest.

  • Two orca fins in black water

    Can eco-labels really save our marine life?

    The EU and the UK have introduced new measures to stop the growing amount of plastics ending up in our oceans. But how much will this help the growing crisis affecting our marine life?

  • running in autumn forest for story saying interim fines requested in legal fight over Bialowieza Forest

    Commission calls for fines as European Court of Justice hears case over illegal logging in Bialowieza Forest

    The Commission has today called on the EU’s most senior judges to impose fines on the Polish side for illegal logging in Bialowieza Forest, as the European Court of Justice was deliberating whether an emergency ban on logging in should be upheld.

  • swans in the evening light

    Polish new Water Law remains detrimental for environment

    A new Water Law was signed this month by the Polish president. It is a response to the 2016 Court of Justice ruling that Poland had failed to implement Water Framework Directive. Although this new piece of legislation was meant to fully implement the EU law, it contains provisions that are likely to have a largely negative impact on the environment.

  • Follow us

    You can help

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