The European Union’s top court Monday ordered Poland to stop logging in the ancient Bialowieza Forest, or pay an $118,000 daily fine.
“Poland must immediately cease its active forest management operations in the Bialowieza Forest, except in exceptional cases where they are strictly necessary to ensure public safety,” the European Court of Justice wrote.
The forest is home to rare plants, birds and mammals and is one of Europe’s last remaining primeval habitats. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The court first warned Poland against logging in July.
Poland says the trees are weak and damaged by a beetle outbreak. It says cutting them down is necessary to prevent people foraging for mushrooms from getting hurt if the trees fall.
The logging argument is another in a series of a war of words between the European Union and the right-wing Polish government, which accuses the EU of infringing on its sovereignty.
The EU has said it is worried about the decline of democratic values in Poland.