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Poland's new environment minister signals little change on forest logging

From Reuters - January 12, 2018

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will comply with an EU court order to stop cutting trees in Bialowieza forest, except where public safety has to be ensured, its new environment minister said on Friday - words certain to disappoint campaigners who want logging to end there.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Bialowieza, which straddles the border with Belarus, is one of Europes last primeval forests and home to its largest herd of European bison as well as unique birds and insects.

Earlier this month, Henryk Kowalczyk replaced Jan Szyszko in a government reshuffle, raising environmentalists hopes this would bring a policy change on the logging issue.

Szyszko approved a tripling of the quota of wood that can be harvested in one of three administrative areas of the Bialowieza Forest in March 2016 to stop a beetle outbreak.

The move triggered environmentalists protests, divided Polish society and has become a bone of contention between Poland and the European Commission.

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