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SLOVAKIA

Destructive Logging in Polana Biosphere Reserve

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friends,

We are writing to ask all friends of forests to support the campaign of the WOLF Forest Protection Movement/Friends of the Earth Slovakia to save the Polana Biosphere Reserve (BR) in Slovakia from destructive logging. We ask you to send letters to UNESCO recommending that they reevaluate the status of the reserve. We believe that this campaign will force responsible forestry authorities in Slovakia to halt logging and reevaluate the current Forest Management Plan for the Polana BR.


A group of forest activists has been blockading the site of the current clearcut logging since June 21st. On June 29th, there was a meeting of responsible authorities with forest activists at the site of the blockade.They promised to hold a meeting of experts. The promised meeting has never been called and the authorities have expressed their intention to continue logging. They continue to stand by their argument that everything is being done according to the Forest Management Plan and is in accordance with the Forest Law. In fact, this has never been disputed by protesters. The problem is that the proposed logging (234 clearcuts in the middle of the biosphere reserve) is extremely damaging ecologically and is against international treaties which Slovakia has signed (e.g. the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Bern Convention).

What You Can Do

If you want to support our efforts, please send your own letters, faxes and e-mails to UNESCO (for more information we are also enclosing a translation of a letter that was sent to the Ministry of Land Management in Slovakia - see below):

UNESCO
Division of Ecological Sciences
Man and Biosphere Secretariat
1, rue Miollis
757532 Paris Cedex 15
France
Tel: 33 1 45 68 40 67 Fax: 33 1 45 68 58 04 E-mail:
mab@unesco.org

We ask you to stress:

- that forestry authorities are currently implementing destructive clearcut logging in the Protected Landscape Area Polana Biosphere Reserve in Slovakia,

- that the planned logging of 234 stands of mostly natural forests in the middle of the Biosphere Reserve is in direct contradiction to the principle reason for the establishment of such reserves, which is the preservation of biological diversity; and to ask UNESCO MAB office:

- to reevaluate the biosphere reserve status for the Protected Landscape Area Polana Biosphere Reserve due to the above mentioned facts.

Thank you in advance to all of you for your help.

Maria Hudakova,
on behalf of the WOLF Forest Protection Movement

Additional Information

The following text is a translation of the letter that was sent to our Minister of Land Management in which we describe the extent of the planned logging and detail our objections on the grounds of the vast ecological damage which will result, in direct opposition to the principles of establishing Biosphere Reserves. The translation was sent to the UNESCO MAB office in Paris asking them to reevaluate the status of the biosphere reserve for the Protected Landscape Area Polana in Slovakia. We are enclosing the translation of the letter to serve as a source of additional information for you.

June 8th, 1998

Subject: Liquidation of natural forest stands by clearcut logging in the Polana Protected Landscape Area - Biosphere Reserve

Dear Minister,

On 15th May 1998 we sent you a letter in which we expressed great concern at the current liquidation of the last natural forest stands by clearcut logging in the Polana Protected Landscape Area - Biosphere Reserve. We have received no reply to date. In addition, the Forest Service involved has brought another two cranes right into the center of the biosphere reserve and plans to increase logging by four times in June. Thus we are compelled to warn the committee of the MAB UNESCO in Paris about the situation and suggest to them that they investigate the possibility of withdrawing the status of Biosphere Reserve from the Polana Protected Landscape Area. We repeat that two hundred and thirty-four (234!) stands of mostly natural forests logged by clearcutting in the middle of the Biosphere Reserve are in direct contravention of the principle reason for the existence of biosphere reserves in the world: the preservation of biological diversity.

The following stands are under consideration: LHC (Forest Managed Area) Kyslinky - 94 stands!, LHC Lucatin - 16 stands, LHC Ocova - 15 stands, LHC Osrblie - 8 stands, LHC Polana - 84 stands!, LHC - Salkova - 14 stands, LHC Hronec - 2 stands and LHC Sihla - 1 stand.

Such management is also a denial of the first goal of the Strategy for Biosphere Reserves accepted in Seville in 1995, which is the conservation of biodiversity. Our concern arises not only from the violation of the main goals of biosphere reserves, but also from what is being destroyed and that natural forests cannot be replaced by man-made forests due to their stability, dynamic processes of natural creation of biodiversity and also for their soil protection and water protection functions. Protected areas and biosphere reserves of forest stands are being designated worldwide for these reasons.

Clearcutting, as a management technique, is unforgivable scientifically, ecologically and even economically. After the use of clearcut logging in these 234 stands, the surface run-off of rainwater will increase ten times (we have studies available which prove the negative impact of clearcut logging in Polana on the flow rate of the Hron river).

Furthermore, drainage of rainfall will be substantially decreased, soil sterilization will occur due to high temperatures and, moreover, the resulting erosion losses will be irreparable for several thousand years. Economists for forest management should be interested in the fundamental increase in costs for reforestation, removing weeds and also for protection against game after clearcutting. Authors of the scientific-technical project "Rational Utilization and Management of the Polana Biosphere Reserve from the Landscape-ecological and Forestry-ecological Points of View", led by Prof. Rudolf Midriak, PhD., of the Faculty of Ecology and Environmentalism at the Technical University in Zvolen, also do not agree with clearcut logging in the Polana BR. They suggest the replacement of clearcut logging by irregular zone cutting and purpose-made selection. At the same time, we draw attention to the fact that the imposition of such a large number of clearcuts on the last natural stands will lead to a direct contravention of the following conventions and documents:

Action Plan for Polana BR

National Biodiversity Strategy of the Slovak Republic

Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats

Convention on Biological Diversity

General Principles of Sustainable Forest Management in Europe

General Principles on the Conservation and Sustainable Preservation of Biodiversity in European Forests

We implore you once again to take steps to halt the logging in Polana BR (before changes to the Forest Management Plan). Furthermore, we ask you to appoint a committee of experts that will reevaluate the current forest management plans for the above stated LHC so that forest management will conform to our legal instruments as well as with the biosphere reserve statutes.


Source: Lesoochranarske zoskupenie VLK
WOLF Forest Protection Movement., c.d. 27, 082 13 Tulcik, Slovakia
tel/fax: +421 91 941488, e-mail:
wolf@vadium.sk

Forwarded to RIC by Phil Knight, Native Forest Network, USA

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