UPDATE: UNESCO urges Poland to stop logging the ancient Białowieża forest

The UNESCO-protected Białowieża forest, on the border of Poland and Belarus, is one of the last remaining parts of a vast ancient forest that once spread across Europe. In March 2016, the Polish Government decided to increase intensive logging in the region threefold, despite concerns from environmentalists and scientists regarding the impact on protected areas. Between January and May 2017 over 30,000 trees have been cut down in the old-growth forest by the Polish Government’s State-owned logging company.

This past June, Mighty stood in solidarity with protestors around the world to support the protection of the Białowieża forest, days before

Protestors gathered outside the 41st Session of the World Heritage Committee in Kraków, Poland on July 4th. CREDIT: Ireneusz Graff, Pracownia na rzecz Wszystkich Istot

Only days into the session, the World Heritage Committee said in a statement that UNESCO “strongly urges (Poland) to immediately halt all logging and wood extraction in old-growth forests.”

In response to UNESCO, the Polish government denied they made the decision to open up the forest to logging. Environmentalists and scientist continue protests as logging continues. “We’ve won an important battle but it is not over yet,” said Diana Maciaga, Climate Coordinator for Pracownia, a Polish NGO that has been fighting to save the forest.  “Still, this is a symbolic, moral victory and it is huge!”

Click here for more photos of protestors in Kraków.