Full of giant trees, dense, mossy and mysterious, the Białowieża Forest in Poland has been described as one out of a fairy tale. It is said to be is one of the last remnants of the ancient forest that once covered half of Europe for millennia. The forest, which is home to a herd of 900 wild bison and straddles the border of Poland and Belarus, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
But there are concerns over the Polish government’s handling of this legacy.
Loggers using heavy machinery are clear-cutting the forest, felling 150-year-old spruces and ignoring the breeding seasons of birds, scientists and campaigners allege.
“It infuriates me that some vandals, barbarians, can destroy the forest,” notes biologist Tomasz Wesolowski. “I don’t know when the breaking point will be…but with every cut we get closer to it.”