Friday, 8 June 2012
Destruction in Sumava National Park
There has been quite a movement in recent years to find some level of protection for near-wilderness areas in
Europe. Actual wilderness probably does not exist
anywhere in this part of the world, but there are pockets where natural
processes and the range of wildlife are still extensive enough for us to
consider it near enough to being wild. I
doubt there is anywhere in
that we could consider in this category – our nature reserve at “The Mens” is
perhaps close, but it is still nothing like wilderness. England
In some places elements of the “wild” are being recreated, such as Oostvaardersplassen in
Holland, and in others,
such as the Bialowieza in ,
you can get pretty close to wild forest.
But anything near wilderness in Poland Europe
is a rare and precious thing.
One such rare and precious thing is the
Park in the , but this is now under threat. A small but influential element in the new
Czech administration is proposing imminent legislation that will restructure
Sumava, enabling large-scale felling of forest in what is currently its core
non-intervention area, and development of a ski lift with other infrastructure
in close proximity. Czech
Widely known as the “Wild Heart of Europe” this area is iconic among scientists, and in the tourism sector, for the intact state of its ecology governed by natural processes, and for the unspoiled beauty of its landscape. It is seen as a symbol of the care which the
extends towards its natural heritage. Czech Republic
Yet the actions currently planned will cause damage to this ecology that will take many decades to repair, as well as changing the character of the wider area forever.
Above all, this is a clear signal that even the best known National Parks are not protected. Beyond being a tragedy for the iconic ‘Wild Heart of Europe’, this action poses a challenge to the protective status of National Parks everywhere.
has an excellent record of caring for its national heritage, and the proposed
legislation for Sumava is opposed across the Czech scientific establishment. In
2008, over 130 conservation organizations across Czech Republic Europe
united to petition for improved protection of wilderness areas. The following
year, the European Parliament passed a Resolution along similar lines,
supported by a massive 538 votes. This
recent step would be a huge step backwards.
Conservation organizations are petitioning the Czech government to think again. This petition is targeted on organizations rather than individuals but I think it is important that everyone should know of the threat to one of
surviving near-wilderness areas.