SER-Europe opposes large-scale logging of the primeval forest of Białowieża in Poland and has sent an open letter to the Polish Prime Minister, Ms Beata Szydło, and the Minister of Environment, Prof Jan Szyszko, condemning their recent actions allowing for large-scale logging in the Białowieża Forest. SER-Europe appeals the authorities to immediately stop logging operations and urges them to enlarge the territory of the National Park to cover the whole Białowieża Forest complex.
Białowieża Forest is the last remnant of primeval lowland woods in Europe and the entire area is designated both as an EU Natura 2000 site and as a UNESCO World Heritage site. These designations recognise its unique value for culture, science and nature. This is our common European treasure. The direct reason given for this logging is outbreaks of bark beetle infestation and the die-back of spruce trees.
To our astonishment these logging actions are described by the authorities as “ecological engineering through the implementation of forest management plans” and they state that “restoring natural habitats and preventing their decline are the primary objectives”. We strongly oppose using the term ecological restoration to describe the proposed logging and re-planting activities. What is proposed is the opposite of restoration – it would much better be described as degradation.
Logging will not contribute to either biodiversity conservation or restoration of forest ecosystems. In fact, the sections of the Białowieża Forest where logging is planned have the highest potential for recovery to a near-natural state. This recovery would be jeopardized by interfering with the long-term natural processes in this exceptionally valuable forest for the sake of short-term political objectives.