Sunday, 3 April 2016

Will no one stop Poland destroying Europe’s most precious forest? | Patrick Barkham | Opinion | The Guardian #olsx #occupy #forest #ewoks #directaction #help #animals #species #extinction

Will no one stop Poland destroying Europe’s most precious forest? | Patrick Barkham | Opinion | The Guardian

bison in Białowieża forest
 A herd of wild bison. Białowieża is home to species ‘that were lost to the rest of Europe a century or more ago’. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
Białowieża is “the misty, brooding forest that loomed behind your eyelids when, as a child, someone read you the Grimm brothers’ fairytales”, in the words of American ecologist Alan Weisman. This unique place of towering hornbeam and fungi the size of dinner plates is Europe: 1,500 sq km of woodland on the border of Poland and Belarus is the last lowland remnant of what covered our continent after the ice age. It is home to 20,000 species, including 12 carnivores such as lynx and wolves, 120 species of breeding bird such as the three-toed woodpecker and rare insects and invertebrates that were lost to the rest of Europe a century or more ago.
The forest boasts Europe’s tallest trees and largest mammal, the bison. It is a national treasure for Poland and an international treasure for us all. Białowieża is our past and our future, a natural laboratory for the study of species and climate, providing globally useful insights into how we’ve changed our environment and how it is changing afresh. Only a small portion (16%) is a national park and parts are protected by the EU and as a Unesco world heritage site.

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