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Global Ideas

Europe's last primeval forest

The Bialowieza National Park is a tourist magnet. Even though it helps sustain the economy in northeast Poland, not everyone in the region sees the nature reserve as a boon. Farmers say it reduces their productivity.

Today only 16 percent of the Bialowieza forest is protected.

Bialowieza National Park

If deer, bison or brooding birds have been sighted on their fields, farmers aren’t allowed to harvest their crops. Nor are they permitted to farm near the woodland. As far as they are concerned, the Bialowieza National Park simply represents lost income. The tourist industry has no such concerns:  the nature reserve is a major attraction. The Bialowieza forest has created a rift within the local community.

A report by Grit Hofmann

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