WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's Environment Ministry says that global forestry experts are checking the condition of the ancient Bialowieza Forest where the ministry has begun extensive logging to stop the spread of a harmful beetle.
Environmentalists have protested the logging to the European Commission, saying it threatens the forest's existence while giving no guarantee of success in fighting the bark beetle.
The ministry said on its website that it has invited experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature who started inspecting the forest on Sunday and will give an opinion on the ministry's plans to protect it.
TVN24 showed the experts examining parts of the forest, which is on the UNESCO world heritage list.
Critics say Environment Minister Jan Szyszko wants to take the forest off the UNESCO list to facilitate the logging.
The ministry statement said that contrary to media reports, there are no plans to seek the removal of the forest from the list.