Fourth blockade of heavy machines finished

A two-day blockade of heavy timber harvesting machines is over

After 35 hours activists from Greenpeace, Dzika Polska, Pracownia na Rzecz Wszystkich Istot and other supporters from Romania and Czech Republic finished the fourth blockade of heavy machines used for harvesting timber from the Bialowieza Forest. They manager to stop the devastation for two days and, as the coming weekend is a long one in Poland (due to a bank holiday), it means that there will be no logging for a few more days.
However, the end of the blockade does not mean the end of action. On Thursday, June 15, a great holiday begings – Weekend for the Forest. The forest and local people who oppose the logging need suport. There are thousands of people ready to defend the forest against perilous decisions of the Minister of Environment. What is more, collective resistance brings new effects, e. g. a major part of the previously closed Bialowieza Forest District has been opened for tourists.
‘It proves how important it is to stand up and speak for the forest and that it belongs to everybody, that everybody has the right to it,’ said Marianna Hoszowska from Greenpeace, encouraging people to visit the forest during the long weekend.
It was the fourth blockade of heavy timber harvesting equipment in the forest. It began on Tuesday before 6 a.m. Polish activists were joined by those from Romania and the Czech Republic, as they wanted to show their disagreement against the logging of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
‘The forest is a huge treasure not only for the local people, not only for the Polish nation, but also for humankind. European Commission stands for the forest. UNESCO experts, scientists from Polish and foreign research institutes as well as thousands of people make negative statements concerning the decisions of the minister of environment,’ says Katarzyna Jagiełło from Greenpeace.
Harvesters were blocked for two days, which made it possible to stop the logging and save about a half thousand of trees in valuable parts of the forest. It is the longest blockade so far.
‘We are really grateful to our friends from the Czech Republic for their suport,’ says Adam Bohdan from Dzika Polska.
The activists were blocking the equipment also at night. They were supported by local people who brought them warm food. Also the virtual presence of other supporters and spreading the news was very significant to the activists.
After the succesful blockade everybody started getting for the long weekend’s event – Weekend for the Forest that will be filled with trips into the wild, birdwatching, activities for kids and families, meetings, films and music.

4th blockade of harvesters

Once again timber harvesting machines have been blocked by Polish, Czech and Romanian activists who stood up to defend the forest together

Activists from Greenpeace, Dzika Polska and a group of people from Romania and the Czech Republic blocked heavy tree felling machines that have been operating in valuable and old parts of the Bialowieza Forest. They spread out banners with slogans in Polish, English and Czech calling to stop the logging.

The logging in the forest is an appalling issue not only for people in Poland but also all over the world. That is why early in the morning in Hajnówka forest district, near Postołowo village, a group of Romanian and Czech protesters joined the Greenpeace and Dzika Polska activists. They wanted to show that the forest is utterly unique – it is the only European lowland forest on the UNESCO World Heritage list. As such, it deserves special protection and the whole of it should become a national park.

Despite the police intervention during the blockade last Thursday, we do not give up. There are more and more people who stand up for the forest. Our demand is to stop the logging of the most valuable woodland in Poland. Once again we block the machines that make the forest disappear before our very eyes, said Katarzyna Jagiełło, Greenpeace Poland. It is scandolous that two weeks before the UNECO summit in Poland its host, which is the Ministry of Environment, permits mass devastation of the only nature UNESCO Heritage Site in Poland, she adds.

Bialowieza Forest is the last lowland forest on the European continent – our common heritage. I just can’t believe that it is being destroyed. I have many friends in Poland and I have visited the forest many times. I was enchanted by its beauty. I’ve been actively taking part in narture protection actions in the Czech Republic, for example, in the blockade of tree felling in Szumawa National Park, where we were supported by many people from Poland. I’m happy I can show my gratitude now, supporting nature conservation in Poland. We were successful in Szumawa and the national park there is now visited by thousands of tourists each year. This in turn helps the local community suport themselves. We hope the same thing will become true for the Bialowieza Forest, said Jaromir Blaha, a Czech participant of the blockade.

– It’ s a shame that people from abroad have to defend the World Heritage Site from the Polish Minister of Environment, who finds profits from timber industry more important than preservation of natural forests and protection of natural processes, said Adam Bohdan from Dzika Polska Foundation.

Heavy timber harvesting machines have been felling trees in over century-old forest stands and in UNESCO protection zones, where the preservation of natural processes should be the priority. On the contrary, what is happening in the forest are works dealing with removal of dead spruce trees which, according to European Commission, should be left in the forest to ensure continuity of natural processes. Moreover, the works are conducted less than three weeks prior to the meeting with UNESCO Committee in Cracow, which will be hosted by the Ministry of Environment.

It is the fourth blockade of heavy tree felling machines in the forest conducted by Greenpeace and Dzika Polska activists. Two of the previous ones – on May 24 and 30 – ended up after the information about withdrawal of the machines had been confirmed. The third one – on June 8 – was terminated by police intervention.

Marianna Hoszowska,, +48 664 066 372
Adam Bohdan, Dzika Polska,, +48 532 284 313

Scientists banned from the forest

On the 8th of June heavy wood harvesting machines were blocked by a group of activists. The activists made an appeal to let scientists come to the forest, to the places were trees had been logged, and to make a scientific assessment of the logged trees – whether they were infected by the spruce bark beetle or not. They were to check if the cuttings in the zone protected by UNESCO and in over century-year-old forest stands could be somehow justified.

However, when on June 9, four distinguished scientists arrived at the site, they were immediately asked to prove their identity. The foresters made it impossible for the scientists to get to timber depots, trying to hide mass destruction of whole wooded areas. Finally, it was demanded for the scientists to leave. It should be pointed out that the chief forester of the Hajnówka forest district, Grzegorz Bielecki, had previously declared open access to the forest for all scientists and researchers.

prof. Wesołowski