Forest as a production plant.

“Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man; whether those of Brazil, where the powers of Life are predominant, or those of Tierra del Fuego, where Death and decay prevail. Both are temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature: -- no one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body.” - Charles Darwin „Voyage of the Beagle”

"A forest is called so because it is not so bright in it."[1] - Lycomedes

It is getting brighter and emptier in the forests of Polish Karkonosze Mountains. Will it be still possible to call it "a forest" in the future? There is much talking about cutting down the Białowieża Forest. However, we should not forget that the same fate meets other forest areas in Poland.

the Michałowice village area, healthy, great stumps waiting for the recipient; photo by A. Jarkiewicz

I love my trips to the Karkonosze Mountains. These mountains have an ancient power. They give respite. They are famous for beautiful mountain trails but also for forests at their foot. Unfortunately, the situation is changing. And here the harvesters (tree catting machine) have appeared. These talented beasts climb the steeps of hills making work easier for “the lumberjacks”. They guzzle beautiful, healthy trees, preparing them to service as furniture or piece of floor. In the days of yore in the Sudecka Road there you could hear birds singing. Now it is full of the whirling of saws. When you drive the narrow mountain roads you have to be careful because it is very common to see large lorries loaded with wood. The ranges of the Karkonosze Mountains, once obscured by trees, can be now visible from the Sudecka Road. Mountain trails in the lower parts begin to resemble stone runs. What in exchange? Progressive soil erosion, stronger blasts of wind that hit the houses located higher and a disturbed ecosystem. To the complaints of local residents in the Forest District, the answer is one: "You live in a production plant, so you have to accept the inconvenience."

Let's hope that the era of chaos and destruction will finally pass away. The sun will rise after darkness and that we may still have something to breathe with.

Others have already thought about it. The report of WWF Polska published on Twitter on January 12, 2018 says that Great Britain wants to recreate its landscape from 200 years ago. It is planned to plant 50 million trees in the area of 200 kilometres.

Coming back to Poland.

For this year trip to the Karkonosze Mountains I took a camera with an idea of writing a column about beauty of the mountains. I saw the scenes that made me cry. Below I present a short film and a photo reportage that were made during the summer of 2017. The Sudecka Road covered with fallen trees. In that beautiful scenery there tourists marching and cyclists speeding. Mountain trails, on which there are cut stumps and only... there is also rubbish left by workers - beer bottles. Beautiful erstwhile forests systematically turning into stone runs. Whole extents of trees with a death stigma painted on trunks. When I was filmed them a squirrel appeared on one of those. It jumped casually searching food. Certainly when I appear in this place next year I will only see the stump in that place.

Authorship: P, Jarkiewicz, K. Drywa

a trail to Kamieńczyk Waterfall; photo by P. Jarkiewicz

a trail to Kamieńczyk Waterfall; photo by P. Jarkiewicz

a trail to Kamieńczyk Waterfall; photo by P. Jarkiewicz

Sudecka Road, photo: P. Jarkiewicz

Sudecka Road, photo: P. Jarkiewicz

Finally, the message of Saint Hildegard of Bingen: "A soul in the body is like the life-giving juices in a tree, and powers of the soul are like the shape of a tree"[2]. Let's take it to our hearts.

I dedicate the column to the wisdom of those who entitle themselves to be defenders of the natural environment.

[1] Translation on the base Polish version of the quote.

[2] Translation on the base Polish version of the quote.