Magazine article Geographical

Live and Let Die: Government Logging in Poland's Primeval Bialowieza Forest Draws Fresh Criticism from Scientists

Magazine article Geographical

Live and Let Die: Government Logging in Poland's Primeval Bialowieza Forest Draws Fresh Criticism from Scientists

Article excerpt

An infestation of spruce bark beetle has split opinion about how to manage Bialowieza Forest in Eastern Poland. Drawing on the country's long history of forestry management, the government has more than trebled the annual quota of timber from 48,000 cubic metres to 180,000, in a move it claims will reduce damage to the trees. Scientists disagree.

Bialowieza is a temperate, broad-leaved forest straddling Poland's border with Belarus. Huge, brooding and straight from a European fairy tale, it is one of the last parts of a primeval woodland that once stretched across the continent. In its deepest, most protected areas, it is strewn with deadwood and moss, and called home by wolves, lynx and around 800 bison.

'The logging has already started,' says Lucinda Kirkpatrick, PhD researcher in forest ecology at the University of Stirling. 'There are three main concessions surrounding the small, 100sq km of protected national park.'

The government's move has been criticised by scientists, who believe Bialowieza would be healthier left alone. …

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