This week, a courageous group of activists from across Europe are joining Greenpeace Poland to stop illegal logging in the ancient Białowieża Forest.

Dozens of people have been chaining themselves to trees and logging machinery to stop foresters from cutting down trees in Europe’s last remaining ancient lowland forest. The forest is home to many rare birds, lynxes, wolves and the biggest wild-ranging herd of European bison.

Activists Occupy Trees 06/09/2017 © Grzegorz Broniatowski / Greenpeace © Rafal Wojczal / Greenpeace      © Grzegorz Broniatowski / Greenpeace            © Rafal Wojczal / Greenpeace                                   Activist occupies trees - 6 Sept, 2017           Activist participating in the blockade

In case you haven’t been keeping up to date with the story, here’s what’s happened so far: the Court of Justice of the European Union has told the Polish government to immediately stop logging and removing trees from the most precious parts of the forest. But the Polish Minister of the Environment, Jan Szyszko, has been ignoring EU law and Poland’s commitments to UNESCO, and continues to allow logging in this unique fairytale forest.

This is the first time in the history of the EU that a member country has flatly refused to comply with an order from the European Court.

©Rafał Wojczal - activists march - 31 Aug 2017 ©Rafał Wojczal - activists march - 31 Aug 2017 

The authorities in Poland argue that the removal of dead trees from the forest is a measure against a bark beetle infestation. But many scientists and the European Court confirm that bark beetles are not a threat to the forest, and if the natural ecosystem is left alone, it will thrive. Dead trees are extremely important for the biodiversity of the forest. The real threat to Bialowieza is deforestation.

Greenpeace has been working to protect the forest in Poland for many years. And we won’t stop now.

Some of the activists have already been removed by guards, but we aren’t moving until we know that this forest is protected.

Grzegorz Broniatowski - an activist being removed from the protest© Grzegorz Broniatowski - an activist being removed from the protest - 6 Sept 2017

We will not let this ancient and fragile ecosystem be cut down for profit. We won’t stop resisting until the entire forest is recognised as a National Park.

Help defend this unique and ancient forest. Sign the petition to protect the Białowieża Forest.

Marianna Hoszowska is the head of communications for Greenpeace Poland