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Ancient Polish forest faces chop

Friday, June 03, 2016 - 01:38

Under attack from beetles, an ancient Polish forest faces the chop. Sharon Reich has more.

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A dispute over logging in Europe's last primeval forest is dividing Poles. Bialowieza spans nearly 600 square miles of woodland and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to many species. It's under attack from bark beetles eating its spruce trees. Forestry authorities and the government want to cut down affected trees in order to save others. But environmental campaigners are enraged by a decision to triple the logging zone. Anna Malinowska is a spokesperson for the states forests and defends the plans. SOUNDBITE (Polish) SPOKESPERSON OF THE STATE FORESTS, ANNA MALINOWSKA, SAYING: "The problem is that several years ago there was an outbreak of bark beetle and it got worse." She says the only way forward now is to cut down the affected trees so the infestation doesn't spread. Around a sixth of the forest in Poland is a national park, and trees there cannot be cut. The rest is operated by three forest units, supervised by the state-owned National Forest Holding. Some in the local communities agree with environmentalists. While others support the foresters … and say campaigners are attacking the source of their livelihood. A UNESCO delegation will visit the forest over coming days to inspect the government's logging plans.

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Ancient Polish forest faces chop

Friday, June 03, 2016 - 01:38