The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and UPM Raflatac have teamed up to protect the Oder River Valley in Poland. UPM Raflatac supports WWF’s valuable work in the Rivers for Life project that aims at protecting the river’s wildlife and improving safety of the people living in the valley. UPM Raflatac’s labelstock factory is located in the Oder River Valley in Poland and UPM’s paper mill downstream in Schwedt, Germany. The Oder, one of the most important ecological corridors in Central Europe, is currently threatened by anti-flood infrastructure.
“The natural function of rivers and their valleys is often disturbed by inappropriate development, such as hydrotechnical structures, regulation of rivers and streams, barrages and felling of riverside forests,” says Piotr Nieznański, head of the Conservation Department at WWF Poland. “For example, in the Oder River Valley only approximately 27% of the original floodplains have been preserved. The remaining areas were cut off from inundation by embankments or progressive infrastructure development. This unique and sensitive environment is exposed to the most damaging partitioning of rivers, destruction of riparian habitat and floodplain buildings,” adds Nieznański.
With the support of UPM Raflatac, WWF will continue its work on restoring the natural character of the riparian areas. Among the planned activities for 2012 is the review of the "Atlas of the Oder River Floodplains." It aims to identify the most valuable natural areas in the Oder River Valley. The preservation of these areas is crucial both for nature as well as for the inhabitants by the river. In addition, WWF Poland will work on restoring the connectivity of the Oder River for migratory species by modernizing the barrage in Wały Śląskie.
UPM and WWF have a long history of cooperation. The two organizations work together in a number of both national and international projects to promote the responsible and sustainable use of natural resources.
“UPM Raflatac has been developing initiatives to reduce its impact on the environment for many years. Now we’ve found a partner, WWF, whose goals fit well with our responsibility principles and UPM’s Biofore thinking,” says Jani Konkarikoski, general manager of UPM Raflatac Poland. “The Rivers for Life project brings clear benefits both to the nature and people in the Oder River Valley. In addition, our partnership encourages exchange of environmental know-how and drives environmental awareness through the planned events for staff and customers.”