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Searching for solutions for the conflict over Europe’s oldest forest

Logging of Europe’s oldest forest, Białowieża Forest in Poland, has recently been suspended, likely driven by the European Court of Justice decision to impose fines of 100 000 euros per day, if clearing of the old stands continues. Although this is perceived as a victory of environmental activists over the Polish Forestry Sector, both sides claim to act in the best societal interest, backed up by the best science available. The near future of Białowieża Forest remains uncertain The dispute over Białowieża Forest is a typical conflict of interests represented by different stakeholders: environmentalists, scientists, local government, foresters and local business owners, and is related to value perception. We also highlight the financial aspect of the conflict and discuss how impacts on tourism may have far reaching consequences not only for the local population of Białowieża region, but also for the provision of worldwide-important ecosystem services such as unique biodiversity protection.

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