GB No. 9, autumn 1992
120 ha of unique natural beauty:
The Bory Tucholskie Forest is well in line to become the next biosphere reserve in Poland. The whole area, thickly forested, rich in unpolluted rivers and lakes, is a natural habitat for a diverse variety of plant and animal species - an environment requiring immediate protection of the law.
There are already four such biosphere reserves in Poland: the Babiogórski National Park, the Słowinski National Park and the Białowieski National Park, the forth is the nature reserve of the mute swan on the Łuknajno lake in the Mazurian lake district. There is an intensive lobbying for the establishment of the Bieszczady biosphere reserve - the only region in the world so far, where the proposed area straddles the borders of the three neighbouring countries. The three long established National Parks: Tatrzański, Karkonoski and Kampinoski are also to be granted the same status, if the lobbying proves successful.
How well are we doing then? Fortunately,there is still a lot left to be put under protection. In the global system "Man and Biosphere" - under the auspices of UNESCO - there are 230 reserves of this type in 62 countries. Poland happens to be trailing at the very end of this list; for instance in Sweden there are 22 of them, in Norway 19, and in Bulgaria 17 - exactly as many as there are national parks in Poland.
As far as the diversity of species is concerned and the purity of air in the area, the Bory Tucholskie forest can easily withstand the comparison with the protected forested areas in the North-East of the country: the forests of Białowieża, Augustów, Knyszyn and Romin. The Bory Tucholskie forest is by far one of the largest forested area in the whole country (45% of forestation)
The biosphere reserves are designed to preserve the environment in its natural state for the future generations. Human intervention is admissible only on the condition, that it be ecologically sound, so both the agriculture and tourism in such areas should be governed by the principles of eco-development.
The Bory Tucholskie forest complex comprises three landscape parks: Tucholski, Wdzydzki and Zaborski. The Wdecki landscape park is to be established shortly: it is centred around the river Wda and its tributaries.
As the volume of tourist traffic in the area has increased considerably in recent times, the standards of environmental capacity are being often infringed, which usually results in sustained damage to the environment and consequently for humans.
The Bory Tucholskie forest could first be granted the status of the next national park, although, admittedly, it is a long range planning endeavour. The existing forms of environmental protection comply with the pertinent regulations of the International Co-ordination Council. The Bory Tucholskie forest could thus fall into the category of "Poland's green lungs", and consequently become the "green lungs of Europe". (...)
The proposed reserve has long been the focus of scientific research, conducted mainly from the local academic centre in Toruń, although it has also been luring researchers from as far as Warsaw, Łódz and Bydgoszcz.
The establishment of the biosphere reserve should best be accompanied by the creation of the local research centre, entrusted with the task of conducting a complex research in the region and encouraging the international academic exchange in the domain of environmental diversity. This particular issue was given its due prominence during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
The area of the Bory Tucholskie forest has long been home to well advanced agriculture. The time has come when the cultivation of land can be still further enhanced - the soil is virtually unsplit, there are hardly any traces of heavy metals in the soil in the urban areas, nor is there much danger of acid rain.
A splendid opportunity indeed to grant the Bory Tucholskie forest the status of a higher environmental protection. It is particularly noteworthy that the very initiative is coming from the "grassroots", the local community, game-keepers, local scientists and researchers. It would appear that only appropriate funding could really make it a success.
"Gazeta Krakowska" 28.10.92
transl. by Sigillum Ltd.