Slovak Boy, 12, Donates Life Savings to Save Forest
A tree-loving Slovak boy has donated his life savings to protect forests in the High Tatras region stricken by a plague of bark beetles in what is Europe's smallest Alpine-type mountain range.
Twelve-year old Matej Jurcisin donated 5,000 euros ($6,170) to the Tatras National Park (TANAP) in northern Slovakia, which has been fighting the disaster since November 2004.
"We go to the Tatras very often and we're worried by what's going on," Matej's mother Alica Jurcisinova, who had to formally sign the transaction, told local SITA newswire.
The Tatras National Park said it would use the money to buy 500 pheromone bark beetle traps and send Matej regular reports on the situation.
Bark beetles have spread extensively in the Tatras' Ticha and Koprova valleys -- strictly protected reserves where environmental regulations bar logging even of fallen timber.
Beetles often attack older trees, making them all the more vulnerable to breakage in severe weather conditions. In winter 2004 high winds damaged three million cubic meters of forest in the High Tatras.
Some environmentalists have argued that nature will best overcome the destruction without human intervention.