NEWS ARCHIVE: AUGUST 2010

August 30, 2010 "Zvyazda" (The Star) newspaper Poachers to be watchful

The militias guard detained two residents from the Mikashevichi town at a lake in the Luninets district. The poachers have caught by nets 88 fishes and now they must compensate the damage caused to the nature, in the sum of 2,415,000 Roubles (~ $ 780).

Militiamen of the Pruzhamy District Office of Internal Affairs have initiated a criminal case against an unemployed resident of the Brest city. He with an unregistered gun was in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" at night.

Simon Svistunovich
August 27, 2010 Website "The Yaroslavl-Online. YarLand.ru" Bison and deer females to get to the Yaroslavl zoo from Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Five "ladies" from Belovezhskaya Pushcha have come to the Yaroslavl zoo at the last night. Two bison females and three red deer females have already specialized in a selected place of the enclosure after the long journey. Horned deer-males have earlier made their home there.

Now they have to live crowded together as new deer animals behave themselves peacefully, whereas "companions" in the bison skin at once have begun to fight for the vital space.

It is a great luck for a cameraman to take these shots even in a zoo. The vast enclosure is approximate to the natural environment as much as possible. It should be waiting for the time when the new inhabitants of the zoo will go from the forest to the open place. Two bison females have come from Belovezhskaya Pushcha at night. After the 36-hour journey both Belarusian "ladies" feel well. Veterinaries are glad of this. Bison are very rare in the world.

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(The text of the news is put in the short-cut form. The BP-21 Century editor's note.)
August 26 , 2010 "BDG Business Newspaper" What's topic to discuss between the frontier guards of Belarus and Latvia in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

On August 25, the 3-day working meeting of General-Major Igor Rachkovskiy, Chairman of the State Frontier Committee, and General Normundus Garbars, chief of the State Frontier Protection of Latvia, has begun. During the meeting the parties will exchange information about the situation at the state border and will discus issues of the bilateral boundary cooperation and the combined participation in programs of the international technical assistance.

The combined participation in programs of the international technical assistance is carried out within the framework of the Trans-boundary Cooperation Program "Belarus-Lithuania-Latvia" and is financed by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Tool for 2007 to 2013, as Ale.by informs referring to the press-service of the State Frontier Committee of the Republic of Belarus.

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(The text of the news is put in the short-cut form. The BP-21 Century editor's note.)
25 August , 2010 Website "The Zaporozhye's Reporter" The Reserve "Khortitsa Island" from the Zaporozhye region will get Geo Information System

Some of these days "an ambassador" of the Reserve "Khortitsa Island" has come back from Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Mikhail Krivolapov, head of the public eco-organization "Obereg" from Zaporozhye (the organization closely cooperates with the administration of the "Khortitsa Island") has visited the famous Reserve in Belarus with the purpose to study how the modern Geo Information System of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is managed and used. This is because the Khortitsa's administration is also going to make and to introduce the similar system for our reserved island.

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By the way, "the ambassador" from Khortitsa has given a photo album "Khortitsa" to the management of Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a remembrance of friendship between the reserves and as a gratitude for the valuable experience.

Elena Bochkovskaya, "ReporterUA"
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(The text of the news is put in the short-cut form. The BP-21 Century editor's note).
August 24, 2010 Website "TUT.BY" Experts: a suspended European Diploma for Belovezhskaya Pushcha will be prolonged

We are talking in the TUT.BY office about conservation of fauna and flora. The UN announced the year of 2010 a Biodiversity Year. The basic reasons of this action were called in the UN General Secretary's message. He said that the climate change is the most global and powerful factor which influences on vanishing the biodiversity on our planet. Exactly changes in the climate system cause the constant replenishment in a Red Data Book. It means that degeneration and vanishing of different representatives of flora and fauna on our planet gets frightening scales!

We will learn about what is doing in Belarus for preservation of flora and fauna from Natalia Minchenko, head of the Department of Biological and Landscape Diversity at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection of the Republic of Belarus, and from Alexander Kozulin, manager of the Sector of International Cooperation at the Scientific and Practical Centre on Bioresources of the National Academy of Belarus.

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Question: In spring you wrote that prolongation of a European Diploma for Belovezhskaya Pushcha is postponed. Let's explain that the European Diploma marks successes of the national parks and biosphere reserves in the field of nature protection. Belovezhskaya Pushcha was granted with it in 1997 and now the validity of the Diploma is temporarily suspended. Will the Diploma be prolonged? What is necessary for this purpose? What is the reason of its abeyance?

Natalia Minchenko: The experts have examined a management plan for Belovezhskaya Pushcha which was developed on demand of the Council of Europe. Some measures and approaches which were put into this plan demanded of revision with the regard of the international experience. So, now this plan is reconsidered and finished. I do hope that after the completion this question will repeatedly be considered and the decision will be accepted.

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(The text of the news is put in the short-cut form. The BP-21 Century editor's note.
The full text can be red on the original website.
August 24, 2010 Ãàçåòà "Narodnaya Gazeta" (The People’s Newspaper) newspaper Wild boar-wreckers: what people say in the Stasevka village about

Wild animals destroy up to 40 percents of crops.

At the end of the summer agricultural crops and kitchen gardens located in the immediate proximity from Belovezhskaya Pushcha suffer from invasion of wild boars. So, the agricultural enterprise "Grinky" of the Svicloch district of the Grodno region annually loses from 30 to 40 percents of all crops.

"Animals raid on fields basically at night", the chief-agriculturist of the enterprise Vladimir Lapytko tells. "Corn crops suffer most of all. Probably, wild boars prefer it as the testiest. Animals also like sugar beet, potato and cabbage. We do not know how to fight against them. Only owners of small ground patches can make fences. We are not capable to fence a field of 2,846 hectares. It's too expensive. We cannot shoot animals either as it is forbidden in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. So, we always try to sow the corn which will be used for grain as far from the forest as possible."

Wild boars are not only wreckers on fields of the Svisloch district. Various agricultural crops are getting bait for many animals in a certain season. In spring, for example, deer, elks and even bison visit fields to get food their.

Elena Maltseva
August 20, 2010 Website "TUT.BY" Water-melons from the Kamenyuki village are more tasty then from Astrakhan

it is to be regretted that the photo cannot reproduce colour, aroma, mellowness and taste. If it will be so, each our readers could recollect water-melons' test as getting earlier.

When I have seen a plastic box with several water-melons in the editorial office, my first question was the following "who had a fit of generosity?!" I didn't believe at once the answer "grown near the city of Brest". That's because water-melons were high-grade, weighing about 5 kg or perhaps more and having yellow bottom-side that, it is the connoisseurs' opinion, testifies to maturity and good taste of the water-melon.

It was found out later that we ate water-melons cultivated in the village of Kamenyuki of the Kamenetz district (the administrative center of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha").

"We cultivate water-melons for four years," Sergei Piskur, our permanent reader, told to us. "In this summer we already took a yield of 50 to 60 water-melons, we did not count up precisely". Sergei said that there was no purposeful idea of cultivating water-melons. All began because ... a woman. Someone of our neighbours casually gave seeds to his wife, she put them into ground on a kitchen garden and something small weighing 1 kg grew there. Then seeds at first planted in a box on a house window and young plants covered on the kitchen garden to protect from frost. The vegetation area was extended. "Our water-melons are an ecologically pure product: dung, watering, weeding and nothing more," Sergei says. "By the way, currants do not grow here but water-melons are OK!" The biggest water-melon which succeeded to get on the kitchen garden by the Piskur's family weighed more than 7 kg, both this and last years.

The Piskur's family are not going to cultivate water-melons for commercial purposes as they have no time for this.

Certainly, water-melons in our geographical area are out of top-news already for a long time. There were attempts of cultivation of the southern berry by the Brest summer residents for many years. But the fact that they grow ripe and got a good sugar content within last years testifies about possibly future ability by each amateur-gardener to cultivate water-melons like now cumbers and tomatoes. 20 years back it was poorly believed that we can cultivate pepper while now almost each of the summer residents does it.

Elena Malyavskaya, The Brest Newspaper
August 20, 2010 Website "The Metropolitan TV (STV)" Video: Villagers of the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha try to win their crop from wild boars

A herd of wild boars destroys the whole field during a few hours. And it is possible to make nothing that to stop the uninvited visitors. Hunting in the Reserve, of course, is under a ban while to scare away the uninvited animals bring no result.

Zenon Pelesh, a villager from Grinki, tries within many days to defend his new yield of vegetables at his plot of land attached to a house from the unbidden visitors. Almost half of the potato plantation is destroyed. The loss for beet and carrots is actually bigger. After incorporating the local area into the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", wild animals are frequent visitors in the peasants' kitchen gardens. Night control in villages was initiated to scare away the non-desired "assistants".

Getting tired of forest visitors, some peasants sopped to plant vegetation on the kitchen garden at all. But this is no way for local agricultural enterprises, although they suffer most of all from it. The driver Nikolai Bygon saw first-hand a herd of wild boars which destroyed a corn field during a few hours. Moreover, wild gluttons have not confused with neither a nearby working grain dryer, nor going by lorries.

Managers of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" say that the peasants exaggerate the threat to their crops. There are such cases but they are isolated instances and the Narional Park takes appropriate measures.

To protect farmlands from the undesirable visits of wild animals, it was decided in Belovezhskaya Pushcha to make special wooden fences on fields. The truth is that it is difficult to judge their efficiency. First, only fields belonging to the National Park are fenced. The fence is set on small plots. A wild animal spends no much energy to bypass it.

Local landowners think that local fields should be given a status of risk agriculture zone. Then losses from wild animals could be possible at least justified.

Yuriy Karnelovich & Nikolai Lapin, the STV company, the Svicloch district of the Grodno region
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(The video-reportage can be watched by downloading the file from here, in Russian)
August 18, 2010 "Arguments and Facts in Belarus" Hunters to look for tracks

The hunting inside enclosures can awake interest in by farmers and people making services for ecotourism.
The hunting inside enclosures can awake interest in by farmers and people making services for ecotourism.

New Rules on hunting enterprises and hunting are approved in Belarus. The rancho hunting is one of the innovations. Experts have told to www.aif.by about it and about who will be interesting in this kind of hunting.

These Rules determine that creation of enclosures including for hunting purposes, keeping, breeding and use of wild animals inside are carried out in compliance with the order issued by Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus.

"Actually the enclosures for hunting already exist in Belarus," the deputy chief of the Department of Hunting Enterprises and Forest Product Management at the Ministry of Forestry Vladimir Zubko has told to www.aif.by. "That's the reason of why the decision to fix it in the legal way in the new Rules was accepted".

The first enclosure of this type was constructed in the Forest and Hunting Enterprise "Shereshevo" in Belovezhskaya Pushcha (4,000 hectares). There is also a big rancho in the Prypiatskiy National Park (over 4,800 hectares). There are a few hunting enclosures of the smaller size including private ones.

The Ministry of Nature Protection has developed the decree which determines the rules of keeping of wild animals in enclosures. The minimal sizes of areas for keeping of wild animals of different species are set there. However, many issues of keeping and use of wild animals in enclosures including in hunting ones, and procedures of creation of ranchos and some other problems remain to be legislatively indeterminate, the expert has emphasized.
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(The text of the news is put in the short-cut form. The BP-21 Century editor's note.)
August 17, 2010 Website "OPEN.BY" The road service should give the complex of services

Objects of the road service of the Brest region should be focused on giving a different variety of services. That is the task set today at the session of the Brest Regional Executive Committee by its chairman Konstantin Sumar.

According to him, it is necessary first of all to create the complex service at refueling points. The road service should also actively be developed near important tourist objects. So, the choice to make new sites for offering them to investors should certainly take into account these two factors.

On January 1, 2010, 163 objects of the road service including 54 public catering points functioned in the region. Now 25 perspective sites for building of new services are developed in the region. The priority is given to motorways of the international and national importance, and to the area adjacent to the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".
August 15, 2010 Website "EUbusiness" Greenpeace, Poland agree on Europe's last primeval forests

(WARSAW) - After three days of protests, environmental group Greenpeace said Friday it had agreed with Poland on ways to protect the country's Bialowieza forest, Europe's last first-growth woodland.

"Thanks to today's agreement, logging will take place outside zones that are naturally precious. It's a great step forward in protecting this unique forest," Robert Cyglicki, head of Greenpeace Poland, told reporters about the accord with the environment ministry.

On Wednesday, six Greenpeace activists from Poland, Austria, Finland and Hungary scaled the environment ministry building in Warsaw and strung a huge banner featuring an enormous heart saying "I love puszcza" (I love the forest), which was meant as a warning against logging Bialowieza.

Fearing the issue will come up again next year, Greenpeace also wants the expansion of the Polish national park which currently covers some 17 percent of the Bialowieza forest.

Last week Polish environmentalists warned deforestation was threatening Bialowieza's flora and fauna and said they had complained to the European Union over logging practices.

But Polish forestry officials deny there is any logging for commercial purposes in Bialowieza, saying only diseased or infested trees are being felled.

The vast Bialowieza forest, which covers some 140,000 hectares (345,000 acres) and spans the Polish-Belarussian border, is the final remnant of a massive woodland that spread across Europe after the last Ice Age, which ended about 10,000 years ago.

About 800 European bison live there freely, half of them on the Polish side. It is also home to rare bird species and lynx.
August 14, 2010 Website "Nowe Media. Polskie Radio" Poland to limit deforestation in primeval Bialowieza

Poland’s government has agreed to a suspension of logging in the primeval Bialowieza Forest after the Greenpeace protest this week.

An agreement has been reached by minister of environment Andrzej Kraszewski and Greenpeace activists protesting against logging in primeval Bialowieza Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site in eastern Poland.

The organization’s campaigners ended their protest action, which began earlier this week, on the roof of the environment ministry building in Warsaw, which they climbed to fly a banner saying “I love Puszcza/ Forest”.

Under the agreement, no more trees will be felled until the end of this year’s nesting season. The ministry pledged to limit logging in the future.

“We think in the same way about the importance Bialowieza Forest. We also think about protecting the whole forest, by including it into the national park and thereby reducing logging in this priceless expanse of wood”, said minister Kraszewski.

Robert Cyglicki from Greenpeace Poland said the ministry will examine logging plans and pinpoint areas where it should be stopped. Another important point, he informed, concerns the future of Bialowieza Forest. “The ministry promised to realize a consistent policy to reduce logging,” said Cyglicki.
August 12, 2010 Website "The George Wright Society" Poland: Greenpeace opens campaign to protect more of Bialowieza, one of Europe's few remaining old-growth forests

In the opening chapter of his best-selling 2007 book “The World Without Us,” the journalist Alan Weisman ruminated on a trip to the Bialowieza forest, the last remaining stand of primeval forest in all of Europe, which straddles the border between Poland and Belarus:

“Think of the misty, brooding forest that loomed behind your eyelids when, as a child, someone read you the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales. Here, ash and linden trees tower nearly 150 feet, their huge canopies shading a moist, tangled understory of hornbeams, ferns, swamp alders and crockery-sized fungi.

“Oaks, shrouded with half a millennium of moss, grow so immense here that great spotted woodpeckers store spruce cones in their three-inch-deep bark furrows. The air, thick and cool, is draped with silence that parts briefly for a nutcracker’s croak, a pygmy owl’s low whistle, or a wolf’s wail, then returns to stillness.”

The chapter describes a decades-long struggle to fully protect the 580-square-mile forest, divided about evenly between Belarus and Poland. On the Polish side, only 17 percent is national park, with the rest subject to selective logging.

Polish officials contend that the harvesting is for the good of the forest, and that only diseased or pest-infested trees are felled. Environmentalists say irreplaceable old-growth timber is being logged for commercial purposes.

The struggle over the forest continues, and on Wednesday, activists from Greenpeace staged an eye-catching stunt to draw attention to its fate, scaling the Polish Environment Ministry building and unfurling a massive banner reading “I Love Trees.”

full story
August 11, 2010 Website "yahoo.com" Greenpeace holds love-in for Europe's last primeval forest (Poland)

Photo from the webpage http://chippewa.com/news/world/europe/article_789fc47d-ae06-544a-b066-f2c2684bc8fe.html?mode=image
Photo from the webpage http://chippewa.com/news/world/europe/article_789fc47d-ae06-544a-b066-f2c2684bc8fe.html?mode=image
WARSAW (AFP) – Environmental group Greenpeace hoisted a huge banner with a heart across the facade of Poland's environment ministry in Warsaw Wednesday, warning logging threatened Europe's last first-growth forest.

"We expect the minister to halt logging in the Bialowieza forest until new forest management plans are drawn up which limit logging to the minimum required for local residents and ban it during (bird) nesting season," Robert Cyglicki, head of Greenpeace Poland, told reporters.

Greenpeace also wants the expansion of the Polish national park which currently covers some 17 percent of the Bialowieza forest.

Six Greenpeace activists from Poland, Austria, Finland and Hungary scaled the environment ministry building in Warsaw and strung a huge banner featuring an enormous heart saying "I love puszcza" (I love the forest) across it.

In response, Environment Minister Andrzej Kraszewski told reporters he loved the Bialowieza forest too, and that its expansion was a matter to be negotiated with local communities.

A week ago Polish environmentalists warned deforestation was threatening Bialowieza's flora and fauna and said they had complained to the EU over logging practices.

But Polish forestry officials deny any logging for commercial purposes in Bialowieza, saying that only diseased or infested trees are being felled.

The vast Bialowieza forest, which covers some 140,000 hectares (345,000 acres) and spans the Polish-Belarussian border, is the final remnant of a massive woodland that spread across Europe after the last Ice Age, which ended about 10,000 years ago.

About 800 European bison live there freely, half of them on the Polish side. It is also home to rare bird species and lynx.
August 11, 2010 Website "Forests.org" Greenpeace activists on ministry roof in Bialowieza forest protest (Poland)

Greenpeace activists have climbed onto the roof of Poland’s environment ministry in Warsaw to protest against what they see as the government lackluster defence of the Bialowieza Primeval Forest, one of Europe’s most precious environments.

Four environmentalists from different European countries climbed onto the roof, Wednesday morning, and spread a huge yellow banner saying: “Kocham Puszcza” [I love the Primeval Forest].

“We demand that the environment minister stop deforestation of the Bialowieska Primeval Forest until a new management plan for the forest is drawn up,” said Robert Cyglicki from Greenpeace Poland.

The NGO is also calling for the Ministry of Environment to extend the area of the Bialowieski National Park.

Earlier, environmentalists filed a complaint at the European Commission against the Polish government for not doing enough to protect the Bialowieza Primeval Forest.

Source: IAR
August 10, 2010 Website "Forests.org" Action Alert: Save Poland's Bialowieza Forest, Europe's Last Primeval Temperate Forest (Poland)

Ask the Polish government to stop exploitation of the primeval Bialowieza Forest. Bialowieza Forest is on the verge of ultimate devastation caused by the state foresters and the timber industry that exploit precious Bialowieza Forest to manufacture products like furniture. Let's support local calls for the cut to be reduced immediately, as a step to quickly ending primary forest logging in the area, and make all efforts possible to enlarge Bialowieski National Park to cover the entire area of Bialowieza Forest. EI has been active in campaign for over a decade, and things are getting active again locally as well, so time to renew the call of the Bialowieski Forest.

1.) Inform Yourself

NOTE: This is a protest, not a petition, sending emails to many real decision makers on matters vital to the Earth.

Caption: If Europe's can't or won't protect Bialowieza Forest -- their last primeval temperate forest -- no one can; and all the world's forests, climate and biosphere are doomed

Situated on the Polish/Belarussian border, the Bialowieza Forest is a priceless relic of lowland European forests, a place where the last fragments of primeval temperate old-growth forest on the Central European lowland have survived. It is home to many species extinct elsewhere including the European Bison, the largest terrestrial mammal of Europe; and also contains lynx, wolves and other threatened wildlife and plants. Yet approximately 90% of the forest remains unprotected.

This ancient forest cathedral is an unparalleled living museum, offering Europe and the world a window into the past. In Bialowieza, we can still observe how European temperate forest ecosystems functioned without human interference. The forest's huge old trees -- with spruce as tall as 55 meters, and oaks 40 meters tall -- inspire all generations. This vital part of European and global historical/cultural heritage must not be lost, so we campaign yet again on the issue.

The forest had been protected as a royal hunting ground for centuries, and it was only after World War I that large-scale commercial logging began. The Bialowieza National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, yet protects only about 10% of the area, while commercial cutting continues in the rest. These 80 years of exploitative timber extraction have had a dramatic effect on the unprotected forests, as the share of old-growth stands has dropped to less than 20%. There is no justifiable explanation for ravaging this invaluable fragment of wilderness for the interest of just one generation. All ancient, primary forest stands will soon be gone, and the last European primeval forest will be only history.

The future of Bialowieza Forest lies in the hands of the Polish government which has the legal and financial means to arrest the devastation and to preserve the forest for the future. For many years environmental NGOs, scientists, concerned citizens in Poland and abroad have asked successive Polish governments to protect the forest, asking them to ban cutting of old growth and for enlargement of the Bialowieza National Park to protect the whole forest complex. Until now there has been little success. There has recently been a surge of local protest that John Seed and Rainforest Information Centre have been in communication with, drafting this alert with EI. Now is the last chance to save the natural character and ecosystems of Bialowieza Forest.

2.) Enter and send Your Information

Your Message:
Mr. Andrzej Kraszewski, Minister of the Environment,
The Republic of POLAND

Dear Mr. Kraszewski,

We are deeply concerned by reports that Bialowieza Primeval Forest in Poland is being damaged and exploited by overly intensive industrial forestry management. I am writing to request industrial primary forest logging end in the Bialowieza Forest, and the area be made into a National Park. This forest ecosystem is by far the best land-use of this magnificent ecosystem, and for the welfare of the peoples of your great nation. We support local demands that harvests be immediately and dramatically cut to 30,000 cubic metre/year, and believe this is a first step towards ending primary forest logging in Poland and protecting and restoring the whole Bialowieza Forest.

Bialowieza Forest is the last natural forest on the European lowland. An iconic natural place for both Poland and Europe, the only of its kind. But only 17% of its Polish area has a national park status and the old forest itself is exploited by the forest industry, which highly endangers and in practice damages Bialowieza Forest's natural values. Very often, these are the habitats of the priority species protected within the ecological network of protected areas in the European Union (Natura 2000) or the species from so called red lists of threatened species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

For several years different NGOs, universities, scientists and journalists have been alarming that Bialowieza Forest disappears before our very eyes. The precious old tree stands have been cut and the populations of protected indicator species, like a three-toed woodpecker, have been decreasing in consequence. As an essentially intact ecosystem, this is one of the last models of European plant communities and wildlife populations. It's much more valuable use is as a protected area, for water cachment, and species preservation.

The coalition of different expert groups, including Greenpeace, WWF, biologists from the universities, Polish Society for the Protection of Birds, has appealed that it is high time the Polish government eventually eliminate all primary forest logging in the Bialowieza Forest you can start by decreasing the timber cutting rate to 30,000 m3 a year or less of logging - and enlarging Bialowieski National Park to cover the entire area of Bialowieza Forest.

Poland has many times proved it can heroically fight to save its land and freedom. Now the state should prove it can save its most precious natural site from destruction caused by the foresters who are in fact a state service subordinate to you as the Minister of the Environment. With your one proper decision, with your one signature you could prove you are a responsible leader who cares of the nature and the society.

We respectfully urge you to cut timber cutting dramatically with the intention of ending primary forest logging within a year and make all efforts possible to enlarge Bialowieski National Park to cover the entire area of Bialowieza Forest. You still can be the first Minister of the Environment to really save this priceless Polish and European treasure. The world is watching and expecting great things from you.

Sincerely,

To send this petition or to inform the friends about it, please visited the webpage here - http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=poland_bialowieza_forest.
August 05, 2010 Website "SINA Corporation" Logging a threat to Europe's last primeval forest: activists (Poland)

Polish environmentalists on Wednesday warned deforestation was threatening flora and fauna in Europe's last first-growth woodland and said they had complained to the EU over logging practices.

"The current way of harvesting wood from the Bialowieza forest completely contradicts European Union requirements, particularly with regard to its Bird and Habitats directives," activist Krzysztof Okrasinski said, quoted by the Polish PAP news agency.

Activists insist logging is limiting habitat of certain rare birds.

A Polish forestry official however denied any logging for commercial purposes in Bialowieza, saying that only diseased or infested trees were being felled.

"Any lumber we get is from trees felled for ecological and protective reasons," Anna Malinowska, spokeswoman for Poland's state forestry board, said adding that without selective logging, infestations had spread on the Belarussian side of the woodland.

The vast Bialowieza forest, which covers some 140,000 hectares (345,000 acres) and spans the Polish-Belarussian border, is the final remnant of a massive woodland that covered Europe after the last Ice Age, which ended about 10,000 years ago.

About 800 European bison live there freely, with some 400 living on the Polish side. It is also home to rare bird species and lynx.
August 05, 2010 Website "EtleboroRobot" Environmentalists in Bialowieza primeval forest appeal to EC (Poland)

Polish environmentalists have filed a complaint at the European Commission against the Polish government for not protecting the Bialowieza Primeval Forest.

NGOs provided the EC with documents which they say prove that the Bialowieza Forest, one of the last and largest remaining parts of primeval forest which once spread across Europe, is becoming devastated. Environmentalists claim that they have asked the Polish government several times to take steps to protect the unique woodland but it does not respond.

“We hope that the EC will take action which will discourage Poland’s authorities from violating EU environmental regulations,” says eco-activist Krzysztof Okrasinski. “Poland is obliged to protect endangered plant and animal species. Meanwhile, the state-owned National Forestry cuts off primeval trees, which can damage the forest and affect the whole ecosystem,” claims Okrasinski.

The National Forestry, on the other hand, admits cutting off trees but for ecological, not economical reasons.

Source: IAR
August 05, 2010 Website "Capitol Broadcasting Company" NGOs worried about Europe’s primeval forest (Poland)

WARSAW, Poland — Europe’s last primeval forest and its rare wildlife are in danger because Poland’s government is allowing too many trees to be felled, environmental activists asserted Wednesday.

Authorities, however, rejected the charge.

Satellite photos show holes in the dense Bialowieza forest in eastern Poland, which is home to the European bison and lynx, forest biologist Tomasz Wesolowski said.

“There is no money in the world that could help rebuild this natural system once we destroy it,” Wesolowski said at a news conference organized by the Polish branches of Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund.

He accused Polish authorities of pursuing a “a policy of exploitation,” referring to rules that allow for some 5.3 million cubic feet (150,000 cubic meters) of wood to be felled each year in an area outside the protected core of the forest.

The more than 140,000-hectare (345,000-acre) Bialowieza forest shared between Poland and Belarus is the last stretch of a pristine forest that once covered Europe from the Atlantic to the Ural Mountains.

Some 63,000 hectares (155,000 acres) are in Poland, including some 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) under strict protection.

Ornithologist Wieslaw Walankiewicz said a “wide protection policy for all of the forest” is needed.

A recent count of endangered white-backed woodpeckers showed no more than 90 pairs in the forest, 30 percent fewer than in a 1991 count, he said.

A spokeswoman for Poland’s state forestry authorities, Anna Malinowska, said they already are working to protect the forest.

She said no trees are felled in the main forest reserve and the amount of wood gathered elsewhere totals only 2.8 million cubic feet (80,000 cubic meters) a year — well under the permitted amount.

The Associated Press