Tree-mendous! Couple buy entire forest to save fauna and wildlife

The initiative was organised by environmental educational trainer and nature guide Mieszko Stanisławski, and trainer and yoga teacher Karolina Stanisławska. Wolny Las / Free Forest/Facebook

A ‘Free Forest’ will be created in Poland to preserve trees and other wildlife after being bought by an eco-minded couple from Kraków.

The initiative was organised by environmental educational trainer and nature guide Mieszko Stanisławski, and trainer and yoga teacher Karolina Stanisławska, who have been running an initiative called “Bycie w lesie” (Being in the forest) that aims to reconnect people with nature since 2012.

The first of its kind in Poland, there will be a ban on cutting down trees and hunting animals.Wolny Las / Free Forest/Facebook

The first of its kind in Poland, there will be a ban on cutting down trees and hunting animals.

With Internet-users’ help, the Stanisławskis have raised enough money to buy 5.53 ha of forest in the Low Beskids mountain range in south-eastern Poland.

The forest is part of the vast Carpathian Forest, which has an area of around 315,000 ha, just a small percentage of it protected.

 The organisers raised over 150,000 złoty (around 34,000 euros), above their target of 139,000 złoty, with over 1,000 people donating.Wolny Las / Free Forest/Facebook

“We wanted to buy it and change its fate,” said Stanisławski, highlighting that trees in the forest will be left to age naturally, without being cut down.

The forest will be purchased using money raised on the zrzutka.pl platform.

The organisers raised over 150,000 złoty (around 34,000 euros), above their target of 139,000 złoty, with over 1000 people donating.

The forest is part of the vast Carpathian Forest, which has an area of around 315,000 ha, just a small percentage of it protected.Wolny Las / Free Forest/Facebook

Now that the money has been raised, they are doing the paperwork to buy the forest.

After this fundraising success, the activists are looking into buying another forest, this time in Podgórze Rożnowskie, in southern Poland.

Poland has 9.2 million ha of forests, putting forest cover at almost 30% of its territory, according to data from 2018.Bycie w Lesie/Facebook

Local residents contacted the Stanisławskis when the forest was put up for sale, fearing it would be bought by a timber merchant.

The Stanisławskis are now raising money for the second forest, which has an area of around 5 ha and would cost 150,000 złoty to buy.

The initiative called “Bycie w lesie” (Being in the forest) aims to reconnect people with nature.Bycie w Lesie/Facebook

“Thanks to funds accumulated on a regular basis, we will be able to act as soon as the opportunity arises to save a forest,” the activists wrote on the “Bycie w lesie” Facebook page.

Poland has 9.2 million ha of forests, putting forest cover at almost 30% of its territory, according to data from 2018.

The Stanisławskis are now raising money for the second forest, which has an area of around 5 ha and would cost 150,000 złoty to buy.Wolny Las / Free Forest/Facebook

It varies by region, from almost 50% in the Lubuskie region in western Poland to under 25% in others, including the Mazowsze region, which includes Warsaw.

Over three-quarters of forests are managed by the state-owned State Forests and 2% are in national parks. Around 18% are individually owned.