The newly appointed climate minister of Poland has announced plans to reduce logging activity in 10 of the nation’s most cherished forests, stating that she intends to “remove saws from Polish woodlands”.
Paulina Hennig-Kloska, who became the climate and environment minister in the previous month due to the failure of far-right and nationalist parties to form a coalition, stated on Monday that implementing a six-month pause on logging in forests nationwide was the initial measure towards reducing deforestation.
As stated in the coalition agreement, the government has committed to safeguarding 20% of the nation’s forests. While only 1.5% of state-controlled woodlands will be impacted by the new regulations, this includes ecologically diverse forests such as the Carpathian forest in the southeastern region, Knyszyn forest in the northeastern region, and forests surrounding the city of Wrocław in the southwestern region.
Mikołaj Dorożała, the deputy minister of climate, stated that these natural areas have significant social value, particularly due to their proximity to major cities.
Poland is home to some of Europe’s last surviving ancient woodlands but its forests have been devastated by an onslaught of logging. Nature groups have stressed that the country is home to threatened animals that have been killed off in many parts of Europe, such as brown bears, grey wolves and bison.
According to Aleksandra Wiktor, a nature advocate from Greenpeace Poland, the state-owned companies responsible for managing Poland’s forests are in need of significant reform due to the immense destruction they have caused.
She stated that this type of scenario should never occur again. She believes that their purpose should be to serve society and safeguard nature, rather than being solely focused on generating profits for politicians and wealthy landowners.
The newly elected government of Poland has made a commitment to take more decisive steps towards addressing climate change compared to the previous administration. This includes plans to increase the use of clean energy, accelerate the transition away from coal towards renewable sources, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions at a quicker pace.
The government has made a commitment to better safeguard the environment. As one of her initial actions as climate minister, Hennig-Kloska visited Białowieża national park, a Unesco-protected area on the border of Poland and Belarus, and proposed developing a set of rules for the forest, as well as establishing stronger collaborations with the surrounding communities, environmental organizations, forestry professionals, and scientists.
Despite public pressure to preserve woodlands, Poland has faced numerous conflicts with European courts due to its logging practices.
Hennig-Kloska stated that they are putting an end to the practice of making strategic decisions about Poland’s natural environment from an office in Warsaw. They visited the Białowieża national park in order to demonstrate a new approach to decision-making and work.