POLISH FOREST AT JASNA GÓRA AND BRUSSELS
On 22 September this year Polish foresters will have arrived to Częstochowa for the 16th time in order to thank Our Lady of Jasna Góra for a year of fruitful work for God, Homeland and its inhabitants
Foresters during the pilgrimage to Jasna Góra are going to thank that they are still taking care of nearly one fourth territory of the country which unchangeably provides clean air, water and protects bio-variety, that is, creates good life conditions for each of us. They are going to thank that there are still a few thousand workplaces on village areas, connected with processing of such forest products as wood, mushrooms, berries. They are also going to thank that everybody can use mushrooms and berries whose harvest in many cases saves home budgets of the poorest people. They are also going to thank that they could realize their mission of guaranteeing a possibility to use Polish forests, according to a concept of a balanced development- a concept of utilizing forests for the sake of human welfare with a parallel multiplication forest supplies. It happened so in the current year. Despite gaining wood, berries and animals these good did not undergo decrease. But, in contrary, the area of forests has increased again, the supply of wood has increased, the decrease in number of wild animals was not noticed and no valuable species of plants or animals being on forest areas disappeared. The increase of supply of wood is the increase of assimilation, that is, absorbing of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This last fact is involving into a climate policy resulting from the Climate Convention ONZ ratified by Poland, according to which the increase of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes disadvantageous climate changes for the man. Polish forests absorbed other million tons of the carbon dioxide last year, creating at the same time a possibility of alleviating financial results connected with the climate-energetic pact accepted by Poland in 2008. Another year of work is another success and the growth in the value of Polish state forests.
Dangers do not stop
The increase in the value of state forests is an increase of danger from those who see in Polish state forests only still belong to the country – that is to the whole nation – millions of areas with milliards of m3 of standing wood possible to sell, under which there are minerals , like sands and gravels, and deeper such energetic supplies as coal or gas or geothermal waters. So, Polish forests are endangered. It results from the fact that political liberal centres of decisions, not understanding or not wanting to understand a great mission of Polish state forests, are going to privatize them through a de-stability of the present system of self-financing. These attempts have already been undertaken a few dozen times and the last of the them was a decision of the government of the Civic Platform – and the Polish People’s Alliance about the inclusion of Polish state forests to the sector of public finances. Only thanks to the determined action of the whole society, including 1.5 million signatures collected at that time, it was possible to prevent a catastrophe. The government of the Civic Platform and the Polish People’s Alliance withdrew from this decision.
A message has come from the government groups recently that a possibility of selling a few thousand small forest complexes from forest supplies, which do not bring benefits, is being considered. This idea is completely contradictory with the mission of state forests and is extremely dangerous for the whole organization, which are Polish state forests. Small forest complexes do not play a big role in the sphere of wood production , but due to the neighborhood with these nature systems, like fields, meadows, lakes, rivers are extremely rich with bio-variety. Small forest complexes also prevail on the areas of small forest cover, that is, where forests play a very essential role of the local village people in the sphere of using such good as mushrooms and berries. Small forest complexes are a relative notion and, knowing interpretation possibilities of politicians of the Civic Platform and the Polish People’s Alliance, whole ‘non-profit’ forest covers or forest districts can be it in the near future.
Facing the challenges of the contemporary times
We must oppose these ideas and defend our Polish forests, but remembering that they must participate in the economic life and adapt to new needs. So, the defense of Polish state forests is not only defense of their ‘status quo’ but also their movement towards new challenges. These new challenges is a new vision of Polish state forests. This vision was elaborated in the Association for the sake of Sustainable Development of Poland. It will be presented during many conferences. The first of them – on ‘Managing the carbon dioxide and renewable sources of energy as a chance of the sustainable development of Europe’ – will take place in Poland and the European Parliament in Brussels on 15-17 October 2012 within a cycle of the conferences ‘Europe of Great Chances’. The conferences will present that Polish state forests are a great good, an example for the uniting Europe, a domain of Poland in the sphere of the sustainable development.
Thanking God for such a big treasure, let’s remember that it has appeared thanks to the work of many generations of foresters realizing their mission both in the period of free and occupied Poland. The words: God – Honor – Homeland – have always been important for these people, although respecting them often threatened with bad consequences, including the death penalty. Let’s remember about it and thanking God, let’s thank them as well.
All pilgrimages of foresters have been organized so far with the participation of the initiator of these pilgrimages – bishop Edward Janiak, a pastor of foresters. XVI pilgrimage of foresters is a special event because in the person of the Bishop we welcome the ordinary of the Diocese of Kalisz this time in Częstochowa, who deserves words of congratulation and thanks.
Prof. Assoc. Jan Szyszko. Member of Parliament (PiS). Head of the Laboratory of Evaluation and Valuation of Natural Resources at Agricultural University. President of the Association for Sustainable Development of Poland, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Forestry AWS-UW government, Minister of the Environment in the Law and Justice government.