Czech environmentalists, Sumava National Park managers battle over bark-beetle tactics, as activists protest logging to manage bark-beetle attacks, push for natural approach to forests health

LOS ANGELES , August 4, 2011 () –
Bark-beetle damage to the Czech Republic’s 70,000 hectare (173,000 acres) Sumava National Park has led to clashes between environmentalists who want the forests left alone and park officials who want to cut trees on some park borders to stop the insect's spread, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 3.

Dozens of protestors who chained themselves to spruce trees in the park in late July to stop timber harvesting were scattered by police.

Supporters for logging in the Sumava Forest are pushing for cutting in some border areas.

Opposition party leader Bohuslav Sobotka visited the Sumava region Wednesday to meet residents and the environmentalists. Social Democrat leader Sobotka criticized the government for employing police against the protestors, reported news.

The Sumava park borders Germany's Bavarian Forest National Park. The Wall Street Journal reported Bavarian park officials in the past had cut trees to fight bark beetle, but in the 1980s they decided then to leave the forest to its own devices.

Today, Bavarian Forest officials maintain that the forest is stronger because more beetle-resistant trees have survived. The beetle primarily attacks weakened or dead trees, creating room for newer, stronger growth.

The primary source of this article is The Wall Street Journal, New York, New York, on Aug. 3, 2011.

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