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На главную страницу кампании
в защиту Беловежской пущи

Campaign to end loggings in Belovezhskaya Puscha

The environmentalists of the world started fax campaign to save world famous old-growth forest Belovezhskaya Puscha.

We have already reported that the National Park "Belovezhskaya Puscha" was handed over to the Administration of the President of Belorussia in 1994. New managers of the national park have turned it into commercial enterprise. The decisive step in destruction of the National Park has become building of large timber processing workshop the centre of the reserve - Kamenyuki village in 1998. Belovezhskaya Puscha is valuable first of all as the last remained piece of primeval forests of Europe. But new management tries to turn Belovezhskaya Puscha into forestry. The scales of loggings and other economic activity grow every day.

The main occasion for logging is necessity of pest control (bark beetle). This beetle eats wood of spruce. One of the ways of pest control is using of so-called "catching trees" that attract pests. When bark beetles accumulate on these trees they are put away from the forest. But why the management of the park had cut for pest control trees uneatable for bark beetle: pine, oak, etc. Belorussian community tried to convince authorities to stop destroying of Belovezhskaya Puscha. It has initiated the tour of journalists to Belovezhskaya Puscha to uncover the truth about what really happens to Belovezhskaya Puscha. The press tour was held in January 2003. Majority of mass media covered what they seen objectively, notwithstanding strict regulations and restrictions of access to information from the direction of the administration of the national park.

The management of the park have responded these articles peculiarly: suits against some mass media are prepared, and cuttings were temporarily restricted. But only temporarily.

Now the head of the national park is going to use 20 thousands of cubic meters of spruce as catching trees for pest control. In fact fir-groves that were remained live will be destroyed. Last year unique spruce-giants were cut down for provision of 3 500 cubic meters of catching trees. But contrary to the methods of pest control the wood still remains in forest and decays.
Now the management of the park intends to cut down 6 times more trees, while in the forest 120 thousands of cubic meters of cut down wood is still not taken out of the forest.

In addition to that, the head of the park plans to dig fish-farming ponds all over the territory of the park. During scaled melioration in 1960 - 1970-s bogs around Belovezhskaya Puscha were drained. Since then the level of groundwaters on the territory of the national park have dropped, and as a result many trees dry out. And nobody cares of environmental assessment of the project. In fact, it is another shady enterprise: as in the Soviet times it was drying out of the bogs, so now it is irrigation. New project will result in new disturbance of ecosystem of the national park: water trenches, bulldozers, unexpected change of stream conditions cause break of sensitive balance of nature. In the autumn of 2002 on lake was already widened: large heaps of soil were dug out, surrounding forest was clear-cut.
The unique population of bisons in Belovezhskaya Puscha (which is known as a habitat of world largest population of these animals - 250 - 300 individuals) also suffer from the activity of park management. Now they are under threat of full disappearance.

In addition, the employees of the park, who are not agree with the activity of the management, are dismissed, the activity of the park management is made more and more secret, etc.

***

In the near future we risk losing one of the last pieces of wild European nature.
In the ancient times forests covered the most part of Europe. By our times only small islets are remained from those deep forests. Belovezhskaya Puscha is the largest of them. It is situated at the border between Poland and Belorussia. The area of Belorussian part of Puscha is 101 603 hectares. The average age of Belovezhskaya Puscha trees makes more than 100 years, and its separate parts are 250-350 years old. More than one thousand of trees-giants 300-600 years old grow here.

For further information:
The campaign in protection of Belovezhskaya Puscha on the website of ISEU: http://www.seu.ru/projects/eng/belovezha/

In Kharkov (Ukraine):
"Pechenegi" ecological group, Sergey Shaparenko: pecheneg@ic.kharkov.ua

In Kiev (Ukraine)
Kiev Cultural and Ecological Center, Vladimir Boreyko: kekz@carrier.kiev.ua

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