Hands off and eyes on

On February 12-15th 2019, the conference ‘Forests at Risk: Białowieża and Beyond’ was held. The goal is to create a strategy to protect the Białowieża Forest. Organised by the University of Warsaw and the Society for Conservation Biology Europe Section, the outcome was four recommendations for the authorities which are outlined below. These recommendations will enable the preservation of this important forest.

Białowieża Forest

Geographically Białowieża Forest is located between Poland and Belarus. Currently it remains the largest lowland old-growth forest in Europe. However, recent illegal logging (under the guise of controlling the spread of bark beetle) has put this forest under threat.

Importantly, less than 1% of Europe’s forested areas comprises of old-growth forest. Therefore, Białowieża Forest is a vital constituent of this habitat. Meanwhile, because of the limited human impact in the area it acts as an irreplaceable living laboratory for ecological and evolutionary sciences. It remains a vital example of how forests evolve throughout the ages. Additionally, it also helps guides nature conservation in other forests.

Białowieża Forest is not the only forest in Europe under threat

The purpose of the meeting

The conference calls for 4 key and basic aims to help preserve the historic Białowieża Forest. These are:

  1. Stop all forestry operations immediately.
  2. Protect the entire Polish part of Białowieża Forest as a National Park.
  3. Implement a science-based conservation strategy to protect ecological processes and biological diversity. This should be in line with the national and international legislation, and
  4. Develop a program that secures the needs of the local communities, and promotes their sustainable development and non-extraction use of the Białowieża Forest.

Made a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its uniqueness, Białowieża Forest is internationally important. Additionally the Polish part of the forest is a Natura 2000 site, so help protect this amazing area by supporting the conference resolution.

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