Environmental Knowledge  

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July 1999


A forester with a lot of knowledge about the environment, the narrator pours out information - but at times it is hard for a layperson to understand. The translation is also a bit patchy. One of his key points, however, is that the flood was not caused by excessive or increasing deforestation, as is often thought to be the case, but the dis-use of agricultural land. As farming has become increasingly uneconomical (see many testimonies for confirmation of this) the former meadows and fields have been neglected and the grasses etc that have taken over, have formed surfaces a bit like “thatched roofs” over which the rainwater/flood waters flowed at great speed. Other contributory factors include insufficient drainage ditches alongside forest roads etc.

He gives some historical perspective to farming in the region, and points out that its position - close to different and changing national borders – plus the repatriation policy has not fostered a sense of security or desire to put down roots among the various inhabitants. This in turn has had a negative impact on farming locally. Abandoned meadows are also a fire risk in the summer. Talks about forestry policy; the effect of industrial pollution; the dominance of spruce and loss of deciduous species; and the need to regulate game, especially deer, which are damaging the trees. He believes that the area’s links with Germany - “the most prosperous part of Europe” - and its own natural beauty could bring investment in tourism.

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  Forester in the forest district of Strachocin. Explains the important issues that affect the forest in the Klodzko Valley: air pollution and the decline in primeval forests as a result of “secular, industrial use of wood”.
Section 2  Thinks there is more domination of spruce in the Klodzko Valley than in any other forestry districts. The need to diversify the forestry by looking at what trees used to flourish historically. History of the local environment.
Section 3  The local area and its monuments, geology, and tourism development.
Section 4  Believes the flood was caused by “disuse of agricultural areas” and the most important thing “we can work on [is] its results … we can only warn earlier”.
Section 5  “Those who claim that forest exploitation caused harm on this area are wrong” - he explains why. Discusses the settlement of the area by repatriates.
Section 6  Depopulation in the area caused a decline in agriculture: “we used to have some thousands of cows officially registered, now there are about a hundred”. Believes that the condition of the forest has improved recently.
Section 7  Thinks the greatest threat to forestry in the region is game: “young forest [is] really destroyed, especially by deer”.
Section 8-9  Believes that hunting should be increased in order to reduce the local game. Water supplies are “in the first class of purity” with lots of trout. He likes his job: “it is not a monotonous job”.
Section 10  “Klodzko Valley is one of the most beautiful places … it still has this chance, this perspective of development”. It should benefit from the “nostalgia of the Germans, who used to live here”, who may bring “bigger chances of development”.