Culture & Society News Poland Slovakia

Poland and Slovakia dominate European Tree of the Year award

Warsaw, Poland – For the second year in a row, Poland has won the European Tree of the Year award, coming in front of neighbouring Slovakia and Ukraine.

By an impressively large margin, the Oak Fabrykant dominated the 2023 contest with over 45,000 votes cast in its favour, about one fourth of the nearly 180,000 votes cast overall. Located in Klepacz park in the city of Łódź, the 180-year-old oak has long attracted visitors due to its impressive shape and size.

In second place, western Slovakia’s Dragon Oak received 18,000, the most successful tree from Slovakia ever to compete.

Completing an exclusively Central and Eastern European podium, the Ukrainian Apple Tree Colony from Krolevets came third with 14,000 votes. This year was the first time Ukraine participated in the contest.

“The majority of the trees contesting this year, including the winners of the contest, have been man-planted”, explained Thierry de l’Escaille of the European Landowners’ Organisation.

“This emphasises the importance of vision in the management of trees, forests, and nature. Responsible decisions and visionary management have the potential to enrich biodiversity and positively affect forests, landscapes, and even cities as in the case of this year’s winner which is growing in the heart of Łódź.”

Hungary’s Bridge Plane Tree and the Czech Republic’s Drásov Pear Tree came in respectively 10th and 11th this year.

The award ceremony took place at the European Parliament on March 21, which marks International Day of Forests, under the patronage of Czech European Affairs Minister Mikuláš Bek, and MEPs Luděk Niedermayer and Michal Wiezik.

Organised annually by the Environmental Partnership Association (EPA) and the European Landowners’ Organisation (ELO), the European Tree of the Year contest is meant to highlight “the significance of trees in the natural and cultural heritage of Europe and the importance of the ecosystem services trees provide”.

People willing to take part and cast their vote are asked not to look for the most beautiful tree, “but for a tree with a story, a tree rooted in the lives and work of the people and the community that surrounds it.”

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