Thursday, 4 August 2011

Update on Sumava Protest

The stand-off between environmental protesters and the Sumava Park Authority and its loggers continues. The protesters have been chaining themselves to condemned trees in an effort to stop the felling of trees in a restricted biological area. Apart that is for a brief period when there was a bomb scare, which the protesters claimed was designed to portray them in a bad light and seems to a cynic like me to be a means of getting them to leave the area. If so it worked briefly, but before the loggers could move in the protesters returned.

The protesters are arguing that the trees should not be felled and removed as proposed by the Authorities but left to decay and nature allowed to take its course. The Authorities claim that the trees need to be removed so that neighbouring trees are not attacked by the beetles.

Politicians have been divided over the issue. Now the European Commision is looking into what is happening, as the Sumava is part of a network of protected nature areas in Europe. The argument has been going on for some time. Back in November last year the former Park Director resigned, environmentalists believe due to pressure from the environment minister. The new director is Jan Stráský, former Prime Minister, who has been praised by the Czech President and climate-change denier Vaclav Klaus for his agressive approach to combatting the beetle. One thing seems certain -  the issue is unlikely to be resolved through dialogue as the two sides have a totally different attitude to the forest and nature generally.

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