Warsaw – Poland has announced that it will continue cutting the forest of Bialowieza, the last European rainforest, despite the European Court of Justice order to stop this practice.
As a reason, Poland has said that it must fight with the insect invasion, Reuters reports.
The European Court of Justice has ordered Poland last week to halt the cutting of the ancient forests until a final judgment in a dispute with the EU, AFP noted.
However, Polish Minister of the Environment Jan Szyszko told reporters that the operations will cease and that Poland is preparing a response to the court.
“We act in accordance with EU law,” Szyszko said at a press conference, defending the forest cutting as part of Poland’s wider legal obligations to protect the forest, which is struggling with the largest “bug epidemic” in the last few decades.
Poland television TVN24 has posted footage showing the machines that cut trees in the forest, which is on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Logging has caused protests of ecologists in Poland, and also in Warsaw in June hundreds of people gathered to protest against cutting of Bialowieza forest.
The ruling party “Law and Justice” has allowed the increasement of logging in that forest, which is located on both sides of the Polish-Belarusian border, and said the reason is fight against the infestation of “root-feeding” insects.
Ecologists, however, consider it an excuse to increase the exploitation of wood for profit and claim that the authorities want to harvest not only infected trees, but also healthy ones, some of which are 100 years old.
Instead of them, young trees will be planted.
Opponents of the harvest fear that this rainforest, a complex ecosystem inhabited by bison, woodpeckers and many other species, will be turned into something that will actually be a plantation of trees.
Last year Szyszko approved a decision to triple the forest logging in relation to a level considered naturally sustainable.