In the German daily “Tagesspiegel”, journalist Robert Klages wrote that there is a mass felling of trees in Poland. This is due to the ever-increasing prices of wood on the world market. For this reason – as he emphasized – the habitats of many animal species are being destroyed. The State Forests issued an official statement on its website against the allegations made by the German daily.
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The Germans write about the mass felling of trees in the Bieszczady Mountains
The author of the report published in “Tagesspiegel” wrote that the parks are protected, but logging takes place mainly on their outskirts. As the place where the largest logging is to take place, he indicated Podkarpacie, in particular the area belonging to the Lutowiska Forest Inspectorate in the Bieszczady Mountains.
The article quoted the words of one of the ecologists, whose name was not given. According to him, Polish national parks are too small to ensure the survival of some animal species, such as wolves, bears or bison.
Dominik Szczepański from Gazeta.pl also wrote about logging and the fact that the control of timber chains in Poland is practically non-existent, revealing the ClientEarth report (a non-governmental organization). In the summer of 2021, its representatives tried to obtain information about the environment of three Subcarpathian forest districts – Bircza, Stuposianów and Lutowiska, wanting to find out how wood is harvested, to whom it is sold, and how nature is protected.
All three forest districts carry out felling in the extremely valuable forest, which is the remnant of the Carpathian Forest. Nowhere else in Poland – apart from the area of strict protection of the Białowieża National Park – are there so many trees of the size of monuments of nature. In April, Gazeta.pl revealed that the Subcarpathian forest districts subordinated to the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Krosno cut down at least 1,697 such trees. Foresters did not want to answer ClientEarth’s questions, arguing that in their view the application did not concern environmental information. More on this:
The position of the State Forests: “They killed theirs, they took care of the Polish ones”
The State Forests responded to the German media and referred to the allegations made in the article “Tagesspiegel”. In an official statement, Polish foresters stated that “in the latest installment of the eco-offensive, the Germans pretend to care for … Polish bears, allegedly threatened by forestry works. The same Germans who killed all the bears in their country.”-
According to foresters, the article is not based on care for the environment, but on ordinary activities dictated by economic factors. “When the prices of wood in the world are breaking records, wooden products from Poland become unrivaled in the West. Black PR has come to the rescue of German producers” – we can read on the website of the State Forests.
In the further part of the statement, foresters deny further information presented in Klages’ text. “It is not true that mass felling of forests is underway in Podkarpacie, additionally increased due to the increase in prices on the market. The volume of harvested wood in each forest district is strictly defined once every 10 years in special plans. (…) These plans do not take into account fluctuations demand and prices.
Another refuted allegation concerns bears. “It is not true that bears living in Podkarpacie are threatened with extinction. In fact, their population in Poland is growing – half a century ago, their number was estimated at only 20 individuals, today official data says 381 (Central Statistical Office 2020)”. Foresters claim that the values presented in the German article are to be distorted and do not reflect the actual state of affairs.
The same is true of deforestation itself. “It is not true that Poland is a leader in deforestation in Europe. Just look at the official data, also German – in Germany 80.4 million cubic meters are extracted, and in Poland 39.7 million cubic meters, with Germany extracting 76.5 percent. annual growth, and Poles only 65.7 percent.” – the data provided by foresters are for 2020 and come from forstpraxis.de and the Report on the State of Forests in Poland.
In their statement, the State Forests also refer to the allegations of anonymous ecologists, denying the information that the situation is pessimistic and stressing that the number of demonstrations against logging in Polish forests is not increasing at all.