Click on arrows
to find more
these themes












August 1999


The narrator works in Bardo Forestry Office and talks thoughtfully about the state of the local forests and surrounding environment. He is generally optimistic about the future, saying that although the forests used to be healthier and better looked after “I must say the situation is improving gradually”. The recent tough economic climate for farmers has had some advantages: the Forestry Office has been able to buy some farmland for planting; and because farmers have less money to spend on chemical inputs, the populations of some local wildlife, such as hares, are recovering. He notes, however, that river pollution remains a problem: “if you go to the Nysa Klodzka when the water level is relatively low and sniff the river, then you will know what condition it really is in. From my own experience I know that the smell is far from pleasant, even around here”.

The one threat to forest stability in the future that he does identify would be implementation of the re-privatisation act: “giving the forests into private hands will be a very dangerous step - in the direction of forest degradation.” He thinks the new owners or administrators would be concerned mainly with profit and “will know nothing about nature, the forest’s needs … they will cut down trees, process wood and the fragile natural balance will be threatened”. He says he is “not interested in politics, but this act concerns my profession”. The interview ends with his wish for people to look after their environment.

detailed breakdown

You will need a password from Panos to view the full transcript of the interview. To apply for a password, click here.

Once you have a password, click here to go to the beginning of the transcript. You can also click on any section of the breakdown of content below and go straight to the corresponding part of the transcript.


Section Section 1-2  Briefly describes how he became a forester, before discussing the Bardzkie Mountains and the terrain in more detail. Talks with pride of how they breed mouflon (rare mountain sheep). Some recent problems that have afflicted local forests are the polypore fungus and the flood.
Section 3-4  Remembers “a very cold winter” which caused the trees to “freeze and crack from the cold”. But “the worst calamity is the mushroom-picking parties” – mushrooms are often gathered in a way which doesn’t allow them to regenerate and the forest gradually loses the fungi. Relates a funny story. The black stork is another rare species that he sees recovering in numbers.
Section 5  Talks about the specifics of the area’s micro-climate. The other main threat to the environment: untreated sewage. The plant in Bardo under construction is inadequate: “rural households will continue polluting the environment”.
Section 6  He is “definitely against” re-privatisation of the forests.As far as I know, the act is going to cover the grounds and realty taken away unlawfully from their owners by the State immediately after the war.” He doesn’t know what proportion of the forest would go “into private hands” but says “I simply hope the act will never be passed”. An added complication is that the area used to belong to Germany.
Section 7  Discusses how they keep the forest in a natural condition by “preventing pollution and contamination”. They have complained about the delay in the construction of the sewage treatment plan, but “to no avail”.
Section 8  He was against the bid to host the 2006 Winter Olympics in Poland. He recognises that such projects and the resulting infrastructure can benefit the environment but doesn’t think Poland yet has the organisational experience to achieve that, so “if they are going to spend money, let them spend it on the protection of the forests, not on organising the Olympiad”. He has no problems with poachers who mostly operate on a small scale “although my older colleagues or the hunters often complain about them”. There’s a long local tradition of poaching and it’s unlikely to stop.
Section 9  He wishes “people took greater care about their environment. That’s where everything really begins”.