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Haraj mentality. “It’s not about the economy, the problem is more serious”

Haraj mentality.  "It's not about the economy, the problem is more serious"

Wednesday we published On the results of our # ecological investigation into the removal of archaeological trees in the Carpathian Forest.

Dominik Szczepański: Over the past three years, no less than 1,697 trees of gigantic proportions have been cut down in the Carpathian Forest. Scientists and ecologists sounded the alarm, noting the uniqueness of this place. They are right?

a. Doctor Hub. M. Jerzy SwaggersickHead of the Department of Forest Biodiversity at the University of Agriculture Hugo Kołłątaj in Kraków *: There is everything in the Carpathian Forest: old and large trees, rare species of birds and mammals. Moss and lichens mimic types of ancient forests that are not found elsewhere or are found irregularly. Trees the size of the monument grow in the tens of thousands there, while many forests contain no trees at all.

The state’s forests say that thanks to their excellent protection and management. They are right?

They are escaping from history. The Carpathian jungle is a wild forest in which nature has been best preserved, because man has not interfered in it for many years.

In the forties of the last century, the local population was displaced, the villages were deserted and no one lived in them for a long time. Without people, forest cover increased. In the seventies the atmosphere there was more wild than in other parts of the Carpathians. One must also remember that hunting posts closed to outsiders were located there.

The so-called Arłamów state, in the People’s Republic of Poland is the holiday center of the Cabinet. 30 thousand hectares fenced with a fence.

With the exception of animals, nature was excluded from the pressure, because hunters were not allowed to be disturbed. With each decade, the uniqueness of this place is becoming more and more apparent.

After the transformation of the so-called Arłamów state ceased to exist. A highly advanced project has been developed to create a national park in the foothills of the Przemyśl hills that will protect the nature of the Carpathian Primeval Forest. However, it was banned.

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I heard that one signature is missing.

It was very close. In the 1990s, several national parks were established and existing parks were expanded. The time was right. Unfortunately, that changed after 2000.

Local governments gained the opportunity to veto national park projects, and after the creation of Warta Mouth National Park, no other state was created. That was 20 years ago

Today, national parks are rarely expanded, except in exceptional circumstances.

What are the chances of establishing Turnicki National Park in the Carpathian Forest?

It seems that it will be difficult without changing the law. The opportunities are declining every year and the government forestry’s position on this is getting tougher. It has already been an open conflict in recent years.

How does it manifest?

Let me start with local governments – they are against national parks, and I’m afraid it will take a generation for this to change.


Foresters form their opinions, and they are quite apparent in every struggle. This is despite the fact that the role of forests in local communities is changing. In the past, the forest was a place of work for the people who lived around it. One had a saw and the other a tractor, and they both worked in the forest and that was an important source of income. Today, large automated companies from all over Poland have entered the game.

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The local communities in many cases hardly have any of it, but for some reason they continue to believe that the forest cannot be turned into a national park. Because, for example, they will not be able to go to pick mushrooms there. It’s not even about economic issues. The possibility of collecting bushes is important, as is the right to spend time in this way. This mushroom has become one of the scarecrows of national parks, as it is used at a time when forest communities worked less and less. However, they remember that relatives and ancestors used to work there. They cherish this view of the world.

If it’s not a national park then what? How to protect the Carpathian forest from logging?

You can create large reserves, as happened already there in the 90s.If a piece of the forest belongs to the state treasury, then you do not need the consent of local governments to protect it. Such an idea was discussed at the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Rzeszow, but the forests did not like it. They vetoed him.

RDOŚ has nothing to say on this?

The state’s forests have a great influence on it. The RDEP seems to believe that the Carpathian forest is adequately protected. this is not true. Many valuable parts are outside the reserves. Regular management of forests is carried out in places that should be protected. In simpler words: If the trees are large, they should be cut down because, according to the foresters, they are mature enough to be cut down.

What about huge trees? The Krosno Regional Directorate of State Forests issued a decree not to cut it down, except in special cases – for example, when the tree is sick or threatens workers in the forest. How do you explain that it should have been done more than 1,500 times in the past three years?

These items are stretchable like rubber. Wickets are created, which are then used mercilessly.

I talk to foresters from different forest regions who recently visited the Carpathian Forest. They were also surprised because they weren’t expecting such an intensity of cuts

Over the years, these forests have been poorly exploited. or not at all. Now that has changed drastically.

Many trees grew to large sizes. There was also a boom in wood and it suddenly turned out that logging was much more profitable than before.

Is there anywhere else in Poland where you can find as many ancient trees as in the Carpathian Forest?

In the field of strict protection of the Białowiea National Park. There are more than 10 thousand. Trees of gigantic proportions with an area of ​​\u200b\u200babout 5 thousand. Hectare. Besides – anywhere.

In the area of ​​the Lutowiska forests alone, the number of potential beech and spruce trees with dimensions is almost 40 thousand. to cut. In the Stupiany forest area – more than 20000

And this is another argument for leaving the Carpathian jungle alone, and not for running any economy there. Only these foresters think this way: “Our job is to save timber and do forestry, and here there is a monument tree every step of the way and we have a problem with it.” When such obstacles appear, you should try to somehow circumvent them. So the whole problem is that these are commercial forests. If they weren’t, the foresters wouldn’t have to worry about them. So you have to change their status, create large reserves or change the law on national parks.

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I repeat, intensive forest management in Bieszczady began only recently. Thus, the natural value of this place is not the result of the work done by forest workers there, but the fact that management has not existed at all for several decades.

It is difficult for foresters to accept the idea of ​​leaving nature alone. Many of them think that the forest will die in such a situation

This is often repeated by employees of the Forest Inspectorate from Stuposiany – they say that without them the forest will deteriorate, and the trees will become sick and old.

not a problem?

We have young and healthy trees all over Poland. The sick and the elderly are home to many organisms. From a nature protection point of view, we want as many trees as possible in the forest. so as not to be removed.

Huge dimensional logging scale at RDSF Krosno

Why is it removed then?

In my opinion, the problem is deeper than just the desire to profit. In RDSF Krosno you pay extra for every cubic meter of felled trees, because these areas are simply difficult to manage [w 2020 r. RDLP Krosno miało 431 mln przychodów i 466 mln kosztów – przyp. dsz]. The costs outweigh the revenues, at least for now. Capital They flock from the forest fund, which is flooded with forest areas from all over Poland. But when such an argument is presented to foresters, their answer begins to revolve around an idea that is very dangerous in this case.

It’s about feeling the mission.

Even if we prove, and this has been done many times, that forest management in the Carpathian forest will always lead to losses, the state forest staff will have their answers, something like: “We do not care about money. We want to protect this forest. Without us, It will deteriorate, trees will get sick and die.”

If pure economy ruled the Carpathian jungle, then these problems would not exist.

In many areas of Bieszczady and the foothills of Przemyśl it will not be profitable to harvest timber. But in the state forests, there is a feeling of necessity to manage, manage, protect and shape the forest according to the concepts developed in the field of forestry.

Where does this feeling come from?

A large part of these opinions go to forests during their education, because it is undeniable that many professors of forest sciences say such things and ask students to repeat them during exams. Later, forest workers get stronger in this feeling, they take part in exercises and read the forest press.

They see the strength of their organization because the employment in the company is very large. I recently saw a presentation by the former deputy state forest manager. Show a list showing that in recent years we have been the European record holder for the number of forest workers in terms of forest area. Compared to most countries, we are also the record holder for height profits Forest management.

How did these people fail ThinkIs it necessary? They have a sense of mission, an education focused on helping the forest all the time so nothing happens to it, a company that pays well, is well organized, and has significant political influence in both government and local governments. It is difficult to change this arrangement.

There are no real forestry discussions, the state forestry is a company where the supervisor is always right

Unfortunately, the Carpathian jungle loses it.

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Why is it difficult to manage and brings more losses than profits?

If only because roads had to be built in mountainous terrain. It costs a lot, but the company that contracts with them is rich. However, the emergence of such methods is unfavorable for water management in mountain watersheds, as they cause the water to drain faster. If we say that some forests have the function of protecting water, we should not build roads in them. But you have to build it in order to manage the forest. This shows a true hierarchy of jobs.

We say that forests are multifunctional, but when it comes to them, despite the water problems, you have to build a road, otherwise you will not be able to pull the timber from there. Wood always comes first. Even if you have to pay extra for it

State forests can do many things. For example, for the maintenance of three forested areas in the Biaowieża Primeval Forest, where the timber has not been cut for several years. These woodland areas are fully staffed and there is really not much to do there. But the foresters decided not to give up these areas for the national park.

As long as there is demand for wood, which is ideal at the moment, the forest fund is doing well and can pay extra for the forest areas that are causing losses. State forests can tolerate various extravagance.

What if they are accused of mismanagement?

We have already talked about this. They will answer that they do not work for profit and care about nature by shaping it according to the best patterns of forests.

This is a difficult debate. If the activities of state forestry were purely commercial, it would be easier to evaluate them. Many people think forest workers are greedy and want to cut as much as possible to earn as much as possible. The irony is that this is not always the case. if the prices The wood will fall off a bit, and they won’t be crazy with cutting. But they will always cut down, because it comes down to the task of shaping the forest.

* Jerzy Swaggerczyk – A. Doctor Hub. M. Professor Emeritus and Head of the Department of Forest Biodiversity Hugo Cottage Agriculture University in Krakow. It deals with the ecology of trees, the structure and dynamics of forest communities, and the course of forest regeneration processes. Natural disturbances in forest ecosystems. Author of more than 170 scientific publications, and director of 12 research projects funded by the Scientific Research Committee, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the National Science Center. Supervisor of 11 PhD theses. He is a member of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Scientific Council of the Papia Góra National Park, and the Committee on Environmental and Evolutionary Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Tatra National Park.

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