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We associate home with peace and security. Wild animals need the same. The Żubr Fund helps create micro-reserves and eternal forests that provide shelter for wildlife and influence the climate balance.
For the golden eagle, such a „home” during the breeding season is an old tree. High above the ground, the female rears its eaglets. Below, in the hollows, pygmy owls make their nests. Also, rare lichen species requiring protection can be found on the old trees. However, for survival and reproduction, not only a tree is necessary, but also the area around it. Any human interference in such a habitat scares the birds away and makes them reluctant to return or it just leaves them nothing to return to the following year. Lichens – indicators of natural forests – disappear together with the felled tree. Hence, the idea of creating micro-reserves and eternal forests, untouched by human activity. The Żubr Fund has allocated a total of PLN 360,000 for this purpose.
What is a micro-reserve? It is a protection zone with a small area created around the tree where the birds breed. No forestry operations can be carried out in such an area – the habitat is to retain its natural character.
Micro-reserves have already been established in many places in Poland, thanks to the efforts of Fundacja Dziedzictwo Przyrodnicze [Natural Heritage Foundation]. The Foundation, in cooperation with experts, searches for localities of species that require zonal protection and submits appropriate applications for the establishment of protection zones. Naturalists still find new breeding sites for eagles, lesser and greater spotted eagles, pygmy owls and black storks. More zones could be created in the area of two forest complexes, which are home to rare species of birds and lichens: Carpathian Forest and Borecka Forest. The Żubr Fund has provided funds to establish 15 micro-reserves in these areas.
The concept of an eternal forest is simple. You buy a piece of wasteland where trees naturally appear. Then, you let the land be governed by the laws of nature. There is no planting, no logging, and no interference with the substrate. The forest grows naturally and attracts many species of animals.
On the Biebrza river, it becomes a refuge for cranes, eagle owls and greater spotted eagles. In the Carpathians, it can be a sanctuary for lynxes, brown bears, black storks or lesser spotted eagles.
Experts agree that only the arrival of man and the industrial era triggered the unnatural disappearance of plants and animals, deprived of their habitats destroyed by humans. In an era of the biodiversity crisis, creating sites where there will be no human interference becomes crucial not only for species conservation but also for the adaptation to climate change.
The concept of the eternal forest is part of the modern approach to ecology, which also involves minimizing the carbon footprint. The forest is a natural „carbon storage”. Experts explain that it is potentially a large reservoir of CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere and an efficient tool in protecting against climate change already underway. Naturalists also stress that the eternal forest retains water, cools on hot days, and prevents floods.
Therefore, The Żubr Fund – in cooperation with Fundacja Dziedzictwo Przyrodnicze – will subsidize the purchase of 15 ha of land for eternal forests. Once they are created, they will not be fenced. Everyone will be able to visit them and see what a real forest, untouched by man, looks like.