Bialowieza Forest, Poland

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edfrank
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Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Post by edfrank » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:05 am

ENTS,

I recieved this "action alert" today asking that I send an email protesting potential logging in Bialowieza Forest, Poland. The message ask that an email be sent to Mr. Andrzej Kraszewski, Minister of the Environment, The Republic of Poland. The text of the protest email and a chance to send it can be found on this website: http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.a ... eza_forest I know a nmber of ENTS members have visited the forest. Beyond this message I recieved I know little about the current situation there, but thought I would pass on the message anyway.
poland_forest1_lg.jpg
Caption: If Europe's can't or won't protect Bialowieza Forest -- their last primeval temperate forest -- no one can; and all the world's forests, climate and biosphere are doomed (link)

Situated on the Polish/Belarussian border, the Bialowieza Forest is a priceless relic of lowland European forests, a place where the last fragments of primeval temperate old-growth forest on the Central European lowland have survived. It is home to many species extinct elsewhere including the European Bison, the largest terrestrial mammal of Europe; and also contains lynx, wolves and other threatened wildlife and plants. Yet approximately 90% of the forest remains unprotected.

This ancient forest cathedral is an unparalleled living museum, offering Europe and the world a window into the past. In Bialowieza, we can still observe how European temperate forest ecosystems functioned without human interference. The forest's huge old trees -- with spruce as tall as 55 meters, and oaks 40 meters tall -- inspire all generations. This vital part of European and global historical/cultural heritage must not be lost, so we campaign yet again on the issue.

The forest had been protected as a royal hunting ground for centuries, and it was only after World War I that large-scale commercial logging began. The Bialowieza National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, yet protects only about 10% of the area, while commercial cutting continues in the rest. These 80 years of exploitative timber extraction have had a dramatic effect on the unprotected forests, as the share of old-growth stands has dropped to less than 20%. There is no justifiable explanation for ravaging this invaluable fragment of wilderness for the interest of just one generation. All ancient, primary forest stands will soon be gone, and the last European primeval forest will be only history.

The future of Bialowieza Forest lies in the hands of the Polish government which has the legal and financial means to arrest the devastation and to preserve the forest for the future. For many years environmental NGOs, scientists, concerned citizens in Poland and abroad have asked successive Polish governments to protect the forest, asking them to ban cutting of old growth and for enlargement of the Bialowieza National Park to protect the whole forest complex. Until now there has been little success. There has recently been a surge of local protest that John Seed and Rainforest Information Centre have been in communication with, drafting this alert with EI. Now is the last chance to save the natural character and ecosystems of Bialowieza Forest.
Ed Frank
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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James Parton
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Re: Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Post by James Parton » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:59 pm

Ed,

I sent my protest. Hopefully Kouta and Jeroen will see this.

james
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Shorea
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Re: Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Post by Shorea » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:30 pm

Just sent in my protest letter too. People should leave primary forests alone.

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Re: Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Post by Jeroen Philippona » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:27 pm

Ed, ENTS,

Indeed it is good to give attention to this protest. The information given on the site is not totally correct. Of the 58.000 hectares (one hectare is 2,5 acre) of the Bialowieza forest in Poland 4700 hectare was a National Park since the 1920-ees. This was a very strict reserve since then and still is.
This is the largest tract of old growth forest in lowland Europe, at least outside the Boreal forests.
In the 90-ees the National Park was enlarged till 10.000 hectare, so about one sixt of the Polish part. What I have heard of this this is also a strict reserve were no trees are cut. In it there are beside forest also rivers with open reed area's. I think part of this newer part has good old growth forests as well.
In the 48.000 hectares outside the national park are some other strict reserves, with special forest types such as riverine forest, bog forest and dry oak forest.
The rest of the forests are exploited for several decades already. In part they are planted forests wirh young trees, other parts are older, but most of them are not animore primeaval or old growth forests.

Still, the Polish call the whole of the Bialowieza forest a primeaval forest, but with that they mean that it always has been forest. Even in the most strict reserve there has been removing of wood, burning and hunting in past centuries.

The Bela Russian part of Bialowieza is a bit larger (about 65.000 hectare) and is totally a national park. It seems to be not very good protected and logging is still going on in the old-growth parts.

Of course is should be much better if the whole forest on both sides of the border should be a National Park and a strict forest reserve.

Recently a Polish tree and forest-lover, Tomasz Niechoda, has bought a Nikon Forestry 550 laser ranger at my advise. In July he did measurements in the forest, although now in summer this is rather difficult.

Here some heights he sended me:
Norway spruce - Picea abies - 50,2 m / 164,7 feet - cbh 408 cm / 13,4 feet
- 49,2 m / 161,4 feet - cbh 330 cm / 10,8 feet

English oak - Quercus robur - 42,6 m / 139,76 feet - cbh 540 cm / 17,7 feet
- 41,2 m / 135,17 feet - cbh 510 cm / 16,73 feet
- 41,0 m / 134,51 feet - cbh 588 cm / 19,29 feet
- 41,0 m / 134,51 feet - cbh 475 cm / 15,58 feet
- 40,6 m / 133,2 feet - cbh 577 cm / 18,93 feet
- 40,4 m / 132,5 feet - cbh 597 cm / 19,59 feet
- 39,4 m / 129,27 feet - cbh 612 cm / 20,08 feet

Scotch pine - Pinus sylvestris - 41,8 m / 137,14 feet - cbh 220 cm / 7,28 feet
- 40,4 m / 132,5 feet - cbh 378 cm / 12,4 feet

He has done many more measurements and is back to Bialowieza to measure more.
With Suunto clinometer and tape during former visits his maximum on Norway spruce was 50 m , on English oak 41 m and on Scotch pine 41,5 m, so these were very correct. In February 2010 he has measured one ash with Suunto of 45 - 46 m, so this is interesting with the Nikon laser, but he did not send me results: he said he had difficulties with measuring ash trees because of the leafs and wants to measure these in autumn / winter.
Probably this is the case with other broadleafs such as lime (Tilia cordata), Norway maple, elms, alders, etc.
I hope he sends more measurements when he is back home.

Kouta Räsänen has measured some interesting tall trees in Germany near the Chech border. He will send a report when he is back from a short holiday.

Jeroen Philippona

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michael gatonska
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Re: Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Post by michael gatonska » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:15 pm

Ed,
I am currenty mobilizing my friends in PL to write. I have written to one friend I have at Gazetta Wyborcza, but this has been news for some time in PL.
This is a 'holy' place, and I have been four times. I hope to go again in the future.
Michael
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James Parton
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Re: Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Post by James Parton » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:15 pm

Jeroen,

It's nice to hear from you. How I would love to see those tall old growth Norways. I am glad to hear of another ENTS grade measurer in Europe. So cool!

James
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Re: Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Post by Jeroen Philippona » Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:22 am

ENTS,

Yesterday I got some new measurements with Nikon Forestry 550 laser ranger from Tomasz Niechoda, who has visited Bialowieza again in August. For European ash, Scots pine, Small-leaved lime and Wych elm there are some new lasermeasured height records for the forest.

Here is a new list, combining his measurements of July and August.

Norway spruce - Picea abies
- 50,2 m / 164,7 feet - cbh 408 cm / 13,4 feet
- 49,2 m / 161,4 feet - cbh 330 cm / 10,8 feet

European common ash - Fraxinus excelsior
- 44,8 m / 146,98 feet - cbh 408 cm / 13,39 feet - this was probably taller, but difficult to measure.
- 40,5 m / 132,87 feet - cbh 525 cm / 17,22 feet

English oak - Quercus robur
- 42,6 m / 139,76 feet - cbh 540 cm / 17,7 feet
- 41,2 m / 135,17 feet - cbh 728 cm / 23,88 feet - this was probably taller, but difficult to measure. Largest girth of a living oak in the Bialowieza forest.
- 41,2 m / 135,17 feet - cbh 510 cm / 16,73 feet
- 41,2 m / 135,17 feet - cbh 477 cm / 15,65 feet
- 41,2 m / 135,17 feet - cbh 416 cm / 13,65 feet
- 41,0 m / 134,51 feet - cbh 588 cm / 19,29 feet
- 41,0 m / 134,51 feet - cbh 475 cm / 15,58 feet
- 40,6 m / 133,2 feet - cbh 577 cm / 18,93 feet
- 40,4 m / 132,5 feet - cbh 597 cm / 19,59 feet
- 39,4 m / 129,27 feet - cbh 612 cm / 20,08 feet
- 37,8 m / 124,02 feet - cbh 701 cm / 23,0 feet

Scots pine - Pinus sylvestris
- 42,6 m / 139,76 feet - cbh 260 cm / 8,53 feet
- 41,8 m / 137,14 feet - cbh 220 cm / 7,28 feet
- 40,4 m / 132,5 feet - cbh 378 cm / 12,4 feet

Small-leaved lime - Tilia cordata
- 35,2 m / 115,49 feet - cbh 420 cm / 13,78 feet

Wych elm - Ulmus glabra
- 35,2 m / 115,49 feet - cbh 330 cm / 10,83 feet

Tomasz didn't give me measurements of the many other species in Bialowieza, probably he concentrated on the largest species.

Jeroen

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James Parton
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Re: Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Post by James Parton » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:31 am

Jeroen,

Awesome, just plain awesome! Two Norway spruce over 160 feet tall and just look at the girths on those English Oak. All are in their teens and twenties! Bialowieza is obviously a great place.

Have you brought up the idea to Tomasz of joining ENTS? You, Kouta and Tomasz would make a great European ENTS team. But by submitting these measurements through you he has already become ENTS recognized and by many would probably already be considered a member. He would be more than welcome to join and post to the list.

You guys keep up the great work. You far exceed my meager contributions!

James
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Re: Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Post by Jeroen Philippona » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:13 pm

James,

Thanks! I'll ask Tomasz if he will look at the BBS and joining ENTS. The English is perhaps a bit of a problem. He has a large website about big trees in Bialowieza; a part is in English: http://www.drzewa.puszcza-bialowieska.eu/ang/
See beautiful new photos he took this year at:
http://www.drzewa.puszcza-bialowieska.e ... aleria2010
Some of the trees at the list above are on the photos.
Tomasz has measured the girth of many hundreds of trees, especially oaks, wich is the largest and together with ash and pine the second tallest species. Since 2008 he has a Suunto clinometer and since July this year a Nikon Forestry 550 laser.
His measurements with the Suunto were very careful and acurate, most lasercontrols are within a metre / 3 feet.
You can see many of these trees at the search-possibility of his site. There you can see that the list here is only the tip of the Iceberg. On this site are only trees in the National Park, only one sixt of the Polish part of the forest. Outside of it in the forest are many more large trees, especially oaks, to be seen at another site of Tomasz: http://www.deby.bialowieza.pl/ang/index.php5 .

Jeroen

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James Parton
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Re: Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Post by James Parton » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:16 pm

Jeroen,

These sites are absolutely awesome. Even though many of us here in America may never get to visit Bialowieza, we have forests that in ways are much like it ( Like The Great Smokies, here in North Carolina ) and can really appreciate the great forest Bialowieza is.

His photography is excellent. Professional grade and I could spend hours viewing them, which I am sure I will, and as far as the measurements go, many of us Americans have some knowledge of metric and even if we don't we can convert it to our English units. The language barrier is not as significant as you might think. True reading Polish or German may be impossible for most of us here but we still can see those great photos and understand the metric measurements. Our English may be difficult for some of you but the photography is universal!

I think I can speak for all us here in ENTS. We value your input and contributions to ENTS and besides, we are all " Keepers of the Trees! ".

I hope Ed puts links to these websites on our main ENTS site. They'll be popular. I am sure of that!

James
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