Polish relevant authorities are planning to cut down 154,000 cubic meters of trees in #Bialowieza forest within the period of three years, Environment Minister Henryk Kowalczyk said this week.
“The total number for three years is 154,000 cubic meters. This is 0.6 percent of all threes in the forest,” Kowalczyk said at a press conference.
The minister pointed at the “increasing fire threat” in the forest this year, underlining that 3,000 cases of forest fire had already been registered.
А year ago the European Court of Justice (ECJ) had ruled Poland violated the EU law by ordering large-scale logging in one of Europe‘s oldest woods, the #Bialowieza forest. The government said it would respect the ruling.
Bialowieza forest has been designated a Unesco World Heritage site and is home to Europe‘s largest herd of nearly extinct bison.
The court’s decision is a defeat for the country’s conservative-led government.
The ECJ said Poland had “failed to fulfill its obligations” in directives covering the habitats of animals and birds.
While the whole of the #Bialowieza forest in Poland is protected under EU directives, only 17% of that area has been designated a national park where no logging takes place.
The court used particularly strong language to criticise Poland’s argument that it was responding to a “constant spread” of infestation of spruce bark beetles. It said the infestation “was not identified in the slightest” as a threat in the government’s 2015 management plan.
The ECJ ruling was hailed by environmental activists. The group ClientEarth said the decision was for now only on paper and called for the government in Warsaw to scrap its original approval of logging.
Poland is the biggest recipient of funds under the current EU budget.