GB No. 1(24)/97
A large percentage of forest area in Poland is under different forms of protection. Those forms - beginning with forests under reserve protection (strict or partial) on through to those areas which are not reserves but are included in National or Landscape Parks limits - to different kinds of protective forests; they all have various priorities and aims of protection. Prohibitions, rules and limitations obligatory in these areas are also different.
Although all of the above-mentioned protect natural values - the best known group are natural reserves. Forest area can be classified as a reserve for many reasons. We can distinguish the following types of groups of reserves*: forest reserves (i. e. established in order to protect the whole forest ecosystem), floristic reserve (protected stands of plant and animal species and created conditions of undisturbed existence) and landscape reserves (protect the landscape of an area with forest as one of its elements).
The kinds of the reserves mentioned above are established in order to protect different kinds of natural values. Forest reserves protect the best preserved parts of natural forest ecosystems - i. e. forests in which species composition, age and spatial structure of the tree stand and the manner of functioning were least changed due to the activity of man.
To this group belong both protected forest reserves which have hardly ever been exploited (primeval communities such as the forests of Białowieża National Park and most of Babia Góra National Park) and forests which indeed have been forested but their species composition and other features haven't changed considerably because of the activity (it includes most of our forest reserves). We have also in Poland some reserves which protect forests created as a result of planting or spontaneous germination of trees on soils which were recently rural soils (e. g. "Poziomkowy Las" reserve in Drawieński National Park).
In the plant and animal reserves' case the aim of protection is to preserve the stands of single, rare species (or its groups). These areas therefore can be established also in highly distorted areas if the affected species occurs there. In the case of landscape reserves the forests which have been changed by economic activity can be taken under protection because the subject of protection is not a single forest community but a complex of different elements of natural environment, including forests.
Reserves from all these groups, particularly forest reserves, are priceless objects to biologists for the study of the forest systems. Because they protect whole ecosystems, it is possible to gather information about what species exist in certain forest types, what kind of ecological connections and dependencies regulate the abundance of individual species and the processes of circulation of matter and energy in ecosystems and what follows it - ie what conditions must be fulfilled to maintain the ecological balance in the forests. The information received in this way increases our knowledge about the functioning of the biosphere and can be useful in planning protective activity in the reserves and to the improvement of methods of timber forest breeding.
Another precious aspect of protected forest ecosystems is the fact that they are the refuge of a huge number of living organisms which occur in small numbers outside the reserves, or may become extinct as a result of human activity. This is particularly important for species with a small tolerance to changes in ecological conditions and also for the numerous species which require habitats such as were often met in primeval forests but are seldom met in timber forests.
Independent of the role played in the ecosystem by the species which have found refuge in the reserves, the necessity of their protection arises first of all from the fact that each species has a peculiar combination of genes which have been created over millions of years of evolution. Each of the species is unique and has a value as a unique work of art. Although we can't nowadays precisely estimate the role of individual species in nature, we know a general principle: the ecological balance of an ecosystem is more stable as more species enter into its composition. Even an extinct ant, butterfly or moss increases the danger of ecological catastrophe. And every preserved species can give us the possibility to restore the ecological balance of the area touched by changes made as a result of economic activity.
It shouldn't be forgotten that it isn't known what economic benefits may give us the future discovery of unknown features of individual species. It would be enough to mention the history of ordinary mold which gave to mankind the first antibiotic - penicillin.
In summary - the protection of nature in the forest is conducted both in order to preserve the diversity, ' of organisms and their role in the preservation of the ecological balance in the biosphere and also on account of their scientific value. Protected objects often have considerable landscape, touristic and recreational values. The need for the protection of such objects and also the continuous development of their network doesn't require further explanation.
Two different approaches to forest protection. Most of the people involved in practical activities related to the protection of forested areas in Poland come from two professional groups: foresters (specialists in the culture of forests leading, primarily, to wood production) and biologists (people who treat forests mainly as a place to observe biological processes). Each of those groups presents us with a different way of looking at the forest.
We have a big group of problems concerning forest management that is the forming of a proper species composition of tree stand, securing natural germination or planting the young generation of trees, throughout the whole period of tree stand life its cultivation and many other activities. Almost all work in forestry is connected with financial costs and with the necessity of efficient organization of work. Therefore, the forest administration workers are, first of all, managers of a given resource. They have the knowledge, 'which is necessary to perform such functions'. However, developing ecology continues to give us new information about the principles and laws regulating life in the forest. We are beginning to notice the harmful influence of some methods of forest reserve protection 'where some years ago it seamed that nothing was wrong'. The understanding of the word "forest" has also changed - nowadays we perceive it as a dynamic structure, which may, in some conditions, change considerably and often. It's difficult to estimate if these changes are due to human activities or if they are natural processes. Greater and greater amounts of knowledge concerning forests generate more and more obscurities: questions for which we search for answers. It thus comes as no surprise that we are looking for an ever increasing number of scientific objects and, trying to study and protect natural ecological processes, we aim to maximize the reduction of artificial manipulations in the forest. An additional source of serious misunderstanding is the imperceptible difference between the protection of nature in the forest area and forest protection as a place of wood production (protection against pests, disasters etc. ) . Forest protection as the complex of undertakings dedicated to secure constancy of forestry work is achieved commonly in all forest objects. What's more - it's not rare that conventionally understood forest protection (in the sense of "forestry") requires activities which are contradictory with nature protection. For example, some hectares of forest blown down by a storm in one of the reserves on the coast caused sharp discussion whether (according to the needs of forest protection) the trees must be removed from the forest due to the possibility of the hatching of pests (which can be dangerous for the nearby trees) or left alone (saving the habitats of rare species of plants and animals dependent upon mouldered logs and thus generating unique conditions to observe how nature manages with such damage).
Locating the proper methods for the protection of ecosystems requires the knowledge of both mentioned professional groups. Both the open, fresh, and sometimes "iconoclastic" glance of biologists and also the planning of the preservation work - realistic and based on the experience of some generations of foresters - are necessary for the further improvement of the protection of the reserves. It requires factual, quiet discussion in which both sides can present their views and then try to reach an agreement. So far, in scientific discussions is has been obvious, the contrasts between the "practicians" (the local workers of the National Forest Management) and the "protectors". Discussions are often replaced by sharp dispute. There are no doubts that the representatives of both groups are guided by the purpose of forest protection according to their best knowledge.
But we don't often think that we need the sum of the knowledge of both groups. Essential discussion is replaced by 'treating' each other to accusations such as: "every forester who enters the forest sees only the amount of lumber of the tree", or "a biologist has no idea about forest management but want to chase away the forester". Of course each of these opinions is false. Understanding is made more difficult because both groups use professional language and sometimes they can't understand and don't want to try to understand each other. Often the language misunderstandings are treated as evidence of incompetence.
I hope that the near future brings an improvement of the situation and that the tiring and fruitless quarrel about who is the proper defender of the forest will quiet down. It will require a continuous attempt to understand by both sides, incessant self-education and exchange of opinions free of emotion. Tasks concerning nature protection in the forests are so numerous, that with conviction it will be enough work for all. The changing world creates new and developing knowledge which gives us new information. To protect the forest we must understand both how it works and how to take care of it. It requires cooperation!
Predatory birds have built ten nests in Warsaw. Three of them are situated on the spire of the Palace of Culture and Science, and two on the building of the Diet - all inhabited by kestrels, birds closely related to falcons.
The first specimens of kestrels came to Warsaw over a dozen years ago.
"We have recently observed an expansion of birds in large urban areas", said Jerzy Romanowski from the Institute of Ecology at the Polish Academy of Sciences. The phenomenon of birds once common in wide, open agricultural spaces, now finding a new habitat in Warsaw, aroused interest and became a subject of investigations conducted by the capital city's ornithologists.
The kestrels overcame their fear of men and chose to abode in recesses of high buildings. They fly high enough so as to avoid the negative effects of urban pollution.
"The species were attracted to the city by easily accessible food resources", says Romanowski. In open spaces they can hunt for rodents, mainly field-voles, and insects. In the city the kestrels like sparrows more than anything else. Urban dwellers look at that favourably as there are less birds on balconies and window-sills. Small birds constitute about 40 per cent of food consumed by kestrels in the city.
According to ornithologists, the "guests from the fields" enrich the urban landscape. The citizens of Warsaw may observe the kestrels in their dynamic flight; they have a slim, falcon-like silhouette, a long tail and long, sharp wings. A male kestrel has a head with slightly marked "moustache", which is characteristic of falcons. That feature can seen even better with females. Males have one-colour steel-Gary tail, while females have striped feathers.
Not long ago the kestrels have also appeared on Grójecka and Andersa Streets; they may also be noticed in the industrial district of Służew and the living quarter of Ursynów.
The title question may sound a bit strange: probably every reasonable man believes that we all have not only the right, but even a duty to protect nature. Naturally, in certain cases, experts of various specialties, such as biology, ecology, environmental engineering, forestry, agriculture etc. (I list them in alphabetical order to stress that they are equally important) should voice their opinions. A variety of knowledge and judgment is necessary to protect the whole ecosystem.
In the issue of "Sylvan" (2/96, pp. 115-121) the standpoint of the Polish Forestry Society and the Association of Forestry Engineers and Technicians from Olsztyn departments was published, regarding the methods of nature conservation. The document signed by Tadeusz Puchniarski, M. Sc. and Tadeusz Pampuch M. Sc. includes rather surprising conclusions. The following is a summary of the paper. The entire text could not be included because of lack of space; however it is not my intention to distort their opinions, which are as follows:
Nature protection should be dealt with solely by experts. The experts are only foresters. Any other experts are "pseudo-experts" and they should be sued. Establishment of newly protected areas would be dangerous.
The area of the presently existing national parks should be reduced to the strict reserves only, and the rest should fall under the management of the foresters.
Efficient conservation of nature is possible in areas besides just nature reserves.
I will not discuss the servile attitude of the authors towards the Minister of nature Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry as well as towards forestry management ("We fully support the present policy of the forestry management [...] in all aspects of human interference in the forestial nature"); because in such case my polemics would have turned into an analysis of performance of the above mentioned authorities. And this would make a subject for a separate article.
As to the opinions cited above, I can only agree with the first and the last ones. But they are not revealing. The authors write: "we strongly protest against an opinion that forests and their fauna can be protected only within national and landscape parks". However, I have never met or heard of people who would claim that nature can be protected solely in the special reserves, so the authors try to refute a theory that has never been formulated. But still, they are inconsistent: they claim that "the human environment should be protected in every place" but at the same time they deny that any conservation methods other than strict reserves are sensible. Referring to the suggestion that the whole Białowieski Primeval Forest should be treated as a strict reserve they state: "Obviously, enlarging the area of the National Park of Białowieża Primeval Forest will be rational only under the condition that the area will be treated as a strict reserve" (the underlining by the authors).
The fact that they use an incorrect name of the park which is called Białowieski National Park is worth noticing. It is hard to recognize whether it was intentional manipulation or rather that it is proof that the authors' knowledge is not so outstanding as they believe it to be.
Anyway, I will return to the question of my title. The answer given in the discussed article is simple: nature can be protected by foresters only. The authors are ready to grant non-professionals the right to voice their opinions "but under the condition that they will not consider themselves professionals". I agree in this point. Indeed, many environmentalists present their views as dogmas while their knowledge of the natural processes is very limited. But whom do the authors call experts? Foresters only. Other experts do not know enough about the methods of nature conservation. The authors fear biologists (we can guess from the context that they discuss this profession) who would like to "use the areas of thousands of hectares for experiments". Well, tree felling - yes, experiments - no. The inconsistency is also apparent in the fact that Mr. Puchniarski and Pampuch agree that a forest does not mean only trees but they claim at the same time that other forest ecosystems should be protected by foresters. Therefore, e. g. a zoologist is not entitled to protect trees, but a forester has a right to protect the rich ecosystem of an old river bed at the edge of the woods.
The authors' ignorance, as far as animals are concerned, is obvious when they deny the need of enlarging the existing national parks in order to secure proper life conditions for wolf, lynx or black grouse. In the case of the wolf, its individual space requirement is very large. During long winter nights a wolf can cover as many as 160 km; usually it wanders about 40-70 km nightly (quoted from W. Serafiński, Ssaki Polski. Atlas. PZWS Warszawa, 1965). Naturally, wolves could and should also be protected as a species outside the limits of the park. But such a protection is not the final solution. If wolves do not have enough game to feed on, and a small park will not secure it, it will hunt for animals from neighboring farms. The resulting situation is what we can experience now: a forest area is not sufficient for deer (Karol Zub wrote about it in his article Śmierć jeleniom, "Zielone Brygady" 3/96, p. 62); consequently, there is not enough food for predators so they hunt for farm animals. And the situation makes a strong argument for the opponents for the total protection of the wolf.
I do not ignore the situation of local people who perceive a national park as a danger rather than an opportunity e. g. to profit from tourism. The solution is to present the potential benefits that a protected area may bring to local communities. But Puchniarski and Pampuch authoritatively state that enlarging and establishment of new parks is "aimless and even dangerous".
While the specific attitude presented in the article is relatively comprehensible (all of us have the right to express our opinions) the arrogance present, in what is supposed to be an official document, is absolutely intolerable. Authorities other than foresters are called pseudo-experts. And the authors do not stop at invectives. They write: "We strongly protest against spreading appeals for saving the primeval forest in our country and abroad. [...] We believe such appeals should be sued by professional forestry institutions [sic! ] for misleading public opinion as to the function and achievements of Polish forestry with regard to protection of forestial nature". The conclusion is that having an opinion, other than only the politically correct one, is a crime. Should this be perceived as nostalgia for the past when anybody could be tried for e. g. "spreading false information"?
Discussion on methods of nature conservation is necessary. I do not insist that the establishment of new parks is the only effective solution. I also do not believe that all foresters think of nothing except how much wood can be obtained from a forest. The discussion, however, cannot be held in an atmosphere full of emotions and threats of a lawsuit.
The Institute of Shaping and Protection of Environment AGH
al. Mickiewicza 30, paw. C-4, 30-059 Kraków, Poland
tel. 48/12/417 22 54, fax 633 10 14
transl. M. Maciejewska
During our work dedicated to nature protection, we often hear such questions: "Signs, signals, barriers? Why are you doing this? Young people will come and damage everything anyway!" "You try to preserve bats, frogs, dragonflies but outside of you and a small group of enthusiasts, do people understand the need of such actions?" Though we agree that the average level of our community's knowledge about nature and its understanding the needs of its protection are not the highest, we do not completely share the pessimism flowing from such questions. Can we accomplish something with those things?
The most far-sighted and effective method is, no doubt, the education of young people. May we rely only on parents and teachers? Can non-governmental organizations help them with forming pro-ecological attitudes? We think that they not only can, but that they should!
There is no doubt that it is easier to become infected with love for nature through contact with it and not through 'dry' lessons, lectures, leaflets or even films. That's why our Society plans to establish a network of school sections of "Salamandra". One of the basic forms of these groups' activities would be the preservation of small, valuable, natural objects. Areas protected in this way we would called "school nature refuges".
We would like that young people associated in such sections would search out by themselves some objects near the place where they live, which in their opinion, would be suitable for this purpose.
Then - with the agreement of biologists from our Society and after coordinating with the owner of the area, they would choose one of them as their "own" protected terrain. There would be small areas and there ground surface would not exceed one hectare. Their environmental values would be more similar to present ecological grounds than reserves. Thus, it may be a small pond with a near-shore zone, clumps of intermeadows trees, a neglected part of a park or an urban forest, or unused elements of old urban fortifications etc.
The making and the realization of a plan for an object's protection would be carried out in close cooperation with our specialists. It would include such elements as: nature inventory-taking, damage removal (for example cleaning), elements of active environmental protection (for example, measuring the drying out of amphibians' mating places), establishment of regular investigation areas, suitable marking, placement of informative-educational points. The basic assumption is the continuity of preservation of the chosen object by one a school.
A necessary condition of the success of such an activity, of course, is the school authorities' agreement and cooperation. The most import factor will be teachers' work. Their rule will be quite different in primary schools than in high schools, where we will rely on bigger initiative and the pupils' independence. But only the teachers' care will decide about the effectivity and continuity of such preservation efforts.
The idea of school participation in care of natural objects is nothing new. It is a popular form of preservation in many Western countries. In Poland some trials of such activity have also been made. But up to now they have not been in the form of wider organized campaigns.
Of course, many modifications of this idea are possible. In our opinion, similar refuges can be protected for example by scouts, clubs in urban districts and other more or less formal groups.
We believe that, besides the measurable profits for the environment, the preservation of "school nature refuges" may give pupils and teachers plenty of satisfaction and provide an excellent opportunity to increase the level of knowledge of nature, not only for participants of this campaign, but for all the local community. This action could be sponsored, for example by local authorities or enterprises, who have contacts with a given school.
Maybe engaging children and young people in the active work for protecting nature is the last chance to stop increasing environmental degradation and to conserve its values for the next generation.
Will such a plan as described he possible to realize in Poland, in the present conditions? Maybe it is only the fancy of enthusiasts'? We would like to hear the opinions of the Bulletin readers. We are particularly interested to hear from teachers. We are waiting for your notices, opinions, ideas and proposals.
The project of active amphibians protection was created 3 years ago. The project was started by people related to Społeczne Liceum Ogólnokształcące. The results of ground observations showed that the population of all amphibian species in Beskid Sądecki was being reduced. The first successful activities were breeding several hundred adult gray toads and green toads from the frog-spawn, after which they were released. The very first foundations of the "Project" included ecological education, building and rebuilding the places where amphibians reproduced, moving some populations which were in danger to safe places and registering some places where amphibians lived in Beskid Sądecki. "Project" is very similar to groups in western Europe. The reasons amphibians die are the same everywhere, so the protection procedures are identical too. Money was given by government administration, various different foundations and private people. The most important of "Project's" achievements are: co-operation with the Jagielloński University in Krakow; a series of lectures for adults and young people; the building of small ponds on a very wide scale and workshops in which many people from all over Poland took part. But one of the most important achievements is publishing the first "Guide-book of active animal protection in Poland (1500 copies). One hundred people took part in our activities. The effects of our action were very quickly seen - the amphibian population increased. On March 8th 1993, a new association of animal protection came into being - it is "Greenworks" which is going to continue the "Project of active amphibians protection" and similar projects connected with reptile protection. All people interested in our activities are asked to contact us.
translated by Agnieszka Zaborniak
Twenty kilometres north-west from Szczecin, near the border between Poland and Germany, there lies the fauna reserve, Świdwie. This place is of great value not only for Poland but also for Europe. In June 1984 the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs proposed Świdwie to be included in the international group of nature reserves protected by the Ramsar Convention.
Located on the southern rim of the Wkrzańska Forest, the Świdwie Reserve covers 891 ha. It includes a shallow lake Świdwie with its picturesque banks rarely visited by tourists. In the reserve are the nest of about 14 species of birds such as bittern, harrier, bearded titmouse, singing tit, bluethroat, crane and many others. During the spring and autumn bird migrations the reserve hosts further fifty species of birds, hundreds of cranes, many breeds of goose, ducks and grebes. The lake and its vicinity are hunting grounds of golden eagle, osprey, Aquila eagle, kite and several breeds of hawk. Flocks of geese and cranes feed on the vast meadows and many other birds nest there.
The Ornithological Station at the Institute of Ecology in Szczecin, conducting research and controlling the Reserve, educates students as well as tourists about environmental protection. The initiative has been accepted with enthusiasm and the proof are hundreds of inscriptions in the visitors book. For several years the station has been visited also by groups of scientists from Poland, Germany and other European countries who intend to co-operate.
Joint protection plans and ideas have been presented to combine the reserves of Świdwie and Gottesheide into one, covering 5 500 ha.
However, the reserve with its winged inhabitants is seriously endangered: a scheme has been prepared of a new border crossing in Dobieszyn, near the northern parts of the Świdwie Reserve. Thousands of cars speeding along the highway are bound to appear and the necessary infrastructure will be built. Thousands of people are going to invade the tranquillity of the reserve. Considering the fact that cranes, wild geese and golden eagles hardly bear the presence of man it is easy to predict what is going to happen in the reserve. Actually it is a death sentence for the fine, priceless area which is protected, however paradoxical it may appear, by the Ramsar Convention.
Everybody who knows the reserve is aware of its destiny. What is strange and frustrating is that the Planning Department does not take to consideration the threat posed by the crossing through Świdwie. Their primary argument is that there is already a road. But the road was built many years ago, when nobody heard of environmental protection and the reserve did not exist yet.
In 1910, a renowned Pomeranian naturalist and pioneer of nature conservation, Paul Robien, began the idea of creating the nature reserve. The reserve was also fought for since 1958 by Jerzy Noskiewicz, accompanied by a group of friends. Eventually, he succeeded and became its founder. His work has been continued with equal zeal by his colleagues and students. It would be a deep disgrace to Polish culture if efforts of all the people who have given their hearts and souls to the reserve would be wasted through one unconsidered decision.
We are not against border crossings. We are not against co-operation between Poland and Germany. We ourselves give the best examples of the latter by organizing ornithological meetings for young people from Poland and Germany. What we fight against is inconsiderate destruction of irrestorable treasures of nature, priceless for Poland and Europe as well. We are going to protect them and name people who are trying to damage them recklessly and thoughtlessly.
We hope that there is still time to change this one-sided attitude and correct the plans devised along some 19th century standards.
Szczecin, 11 Nov. 1994,
translated by M. Maciejewska
The Nature Watch group consists of twenty people co-operating with the Society of Nature Fans.
The main aim of the Society is protecting the Parsęta against destruction and land development. The program is carried out in collaboration with scientists and naturalists from all over the country.
We will be grateful for any form of support and we declare that we will do our best to use any means you pass on to us to protect the Parsęta and its neighborhood as effectively as possible.
Towarzystwo Miłośników Przyrody
The Society of Nature Fans
13 78-200 Bialogard, Poland
Bank Spółdzielczy w Białogardzie
Straż Ochrony Przyrody,
Parsęcka Grupa Rejonowa Nr 017
The Nature Watch
the Parsęta Regional Group No 017
Some time ago I read in a local daily "Życie Bytomskie", an article about the opening of a sanctuary for water birds in Bytom. The sanctuary is situated in one of the most polluted regions of Silesia, among the towns of Bytom, Chorzów, and Piekary Śląskie. I saw this enclave with my own eyes only this past summer, although my home is not more than a kilometer or two away from it. Full of skepticism, I went with my wife for a Sunday walk to "Żabie Doły"- the name of this sanctuary. To my surprise, after entering a well signed area, I noticed a real paradise of animals (for Silesian conditions) - several ponds surrounded with bulrushes, rich vegetation, water eyes intersected by railway and narrow-gauge railway banks. As I am not an ornithologist and rather uninitiated in nature as far as differentiating among species, I noticed only a variety of animals familiar to me: numerous grebes and ducks with offspring, swans and others, water rats (I guess those were water rats as they looked like rats and swam in water). In the evening, after sitting on a bank, one may hear a wonderful concert and feel distant from civilization, although the nearest mine is unbelievably close. One should feel happy that the members of the city council of Bytom were able to organize such a sanctuary and that nature itself was able to cultivate former waste-heaps and mine ponds in such a way. The only weak point is that, despite the sign forbidding car entry, one can see many "tourists" who come here by motorbikes or cars to catch fish, sunbathe and swim, which in time can lead to the destruction of this interesting natural and ornithological enclave. Taking into consideration the abundance of unpleasant news, what I saw here was delightful.
ul. Chorzowska 2/3 B
41-910 Bytom 10, Poland
In the official notes from the building of the Służewska Valley Park we can read the following note made by a supervising inspector from the Technical Department of the District Mokotów Office: Two poplars have been planted on Bach Street without the inspector having been consulted. The poplars are to be ... removed by the end of November.
With the above note in mind, I would like to inform the general public that in the park there live two pheasants, illicitly and without any former consultation, who in full daylight stroll across freshly sown lawns. They could have asked the Office for permission and after two months they would certainly have received the answer. The pheasants should be treated in the same way in which the Służewski Creek was. For thousands of years, without any consultation, it meandered through the Służewska Valley so it was straightened and concreted. It will not wilfully flow through our lands any more! The same should be done with any piece of fauna or flora which does not obey regulations of the High Office. Get concreted and annihilated.
inż. Andrzej Bogusławski
Activities in Białowieża forest are running at a loss. Logging is carried out by the state logging company which sells on to private mill owners. The money raised from timber sales is not enough to cover the costs of extracting the timber plus the payment of a stumpage fee to the local communities. The argument that logging is an economic necessity does not hold water.
In 1992 the World Bank agreed a loan package of 146 million US dollars between 1994 and 1997 for the development of the whole of Poland's forestry sector. This investment provided an opportunity for Poland to access funds from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which is partly administered by the World Bank. Białowieża forest was identified as a suitable recipient of funds and a grant application for creation of a 150 sq km protected buffer zone around the National Park was submitted. The Białowieża forest and the Sudety mountains received a GEF grant of 4,5 million US dollars. Two and a half years have passed, and at the end of the first pilot phase of the GEF project, there has been no discernable increase in the protection afforded to the area outside the National Park. In fact, it is more likely that contrary to the scientific findings, the GEF-funded research has stimulated logging in the area as companies race to extract timber before proper protection is enforced.
Three international activists were detained by police at 2am this morning for setting up camp outside Government House (Urząd Rady Ministrów) in their struggle to save Białowieża, Europe's last ancient temperate forest. Police gave the reason for arrest as: damaging the grass verge by sleeping on it. Yesterday 100 activists from 15 countries marched on the building to present their demands for a complete ban on logging old growth trees in the forest and for an expansion of the National Park to protect the whole area.
11am 27th April 1995 Warsaw Poland
In "Tygodnik Powszechny" (cultural magazine) from 18. 02. 96 there is a great article by Czesław Miłosz - Nobel Price winner (poetry) about Białowieska Puszcza. Miłosz asks the Polish government why Białowieska Puszcza is not protected as a national park. Miłosz asks international autorithies for help to save Białowieska Puszcza.