While most Split residents are asleep, members of the secret Split-based Green Guerilla direct action group covertly roam Marjan Forest Park with seedlings in hand, planting trees to help the city’s lungs breathe. They claim that everything they do is in collaboration with top forestry experts.
In addition to the Aleppo pine, they plant oak and cypress. However, they do not want to reveal how many trees they have planted so far and where, according to Ivana Perkovic/Dalmacija Danas on January 6, 2020.
The Split based group call themselves Green Guerrilla and their activities, although illegal, have met with widespread public approval. Nevertheless, some have wondered if these people might have better things they could be doing. Here’s what they have to say:
To begin with: Split residents are interested in knowing; who are you and why did you organize?
We are a group of Marjan fans from Split who are tired of watching the destruction of life going on in the park. We have had enough of pillaging by the political elite, in which green spaces and trees in Marjan are being transformed into timber and are becoming prey to political calculation.
Some have wondered if you might have better things to do with your lives. Why did you begin planting right now?
For too long, those in charge have been saying that the afforestation process is set to begin. But they stand around with their hands in their pockets and prolong this process and pace it with campaigns for upcoming local elections. We’ve waited long enough, and it is a shame that the fate of Marjan is being decided by people who are calling the survival of vegetation into question. After a couple of years of delays, the forest has not been rehabilitated according to the agreed-upon method, and chopping down thousands of healthy trees cannot be called remediation. The real word that describes what has happened in Marjan is ‘criminal.’
Do you have experience in planting? What you say about statements by Damir Grubšić (JUPŠM/Public Institute for Marjan Forest Management) that you are doing more harm than good?
We are doing everything according to instructions from top forestry experts who wish to remain anonymous because they fear for their jobs. We would love to hear about what a shame it is to plant an oak, pine or cypress in the forest. If he is looking for pests in Marjan, he should first look at his current assistant and former director, Robert Koharević, and then at some other anomalies in the Public Institute. The real Marjan pests are those who illegally paved green areas and those who allowed them to are going unpunished while they remain in the city administration and Public Institute.
Are you afraid of being caught?
If one of us is caught, we will stand as one in solidarity and demand to be punished together. But we will also seek sanctions for those who have illegally harvested more than 20,000 Marjan trees, as determined by the State Forestry Inspectorate, and sanctions for those who have looked after Marjan in this manner.
Green Guerrilla | Facebook
Are you planning to plant trees in large areas or just a symbolic number? How many trees have you planted so far?
That will remain our secret.
Will you respond to Mirko Rušić’s invitation to plant trees when he officially begins the afforestation project?
We will not, because we do not want to work with a person who is unskilled, uneducated and unqualified to perform forestry work and, above all, a person who participated in the illegal felling of more than 20,000 Marjan trees.
We will only respond to an invitation to plant trees from an authorized forester. That person must stand up for afforestation, put his name behind it, and be responsible for all forestry efforts spanning the entire Marjan Forest Park protected area, which has already been slated for afforestation by the spatial plan and management program. Well, Marjan has been without a major forestry planning document for a year now. Should we be expecting an invite from someone who we can thank for putting Marjan in this situation?
You say that you are doing this “in defiance of those who would build and not plant on Marjan.” Do you think that they are really trying to destroy the forest so that apartments and hotels will pop up on Marjan?
It’s not a matter of that we think. Parts of Marjan Forest Park have already been irreversibly destroyed by the unplanned and illegal construction of hotels and apartments, and now there are plans to build new cafes. Recent changes to spatial plans have been announced and who knows what else is happening in Kašuni, Kaštelet and Prva voda.
It has been officially confirmed that 75 buildings have been illegally built in this protected area, part of which is being used for apartments. There won’t be any peace while there are construction sites in the park forest, illegal construction continues, and the commercialization of Marjan is put ahead of its protection in the minds of those responsible.
How would you respond if someone started to harvest the trees you planted?
Trees cannot harm anyone, so destroying them would mean that they want war with well-meaning Split residents. If they want war with residents, they will have one, and a bigger tree will replace every tree that is removed. We will also make sure that the news of this behavior is spread beyond Croatia’s borders. This is at a critical time when the whole world is working on afforestation due to climate change, which has occurred due to the destruction of forests.
WHO IS PLANTING TWO TREES THIS EARLY
After the Aleppo pine, it was time to plant an indigenous oak and there was also a spot for a cypress. In view of yesterday’s news story RTL Danas, we would like to address the statements of Mirko Rušić, President of the Marjan Commission, Deputy Coordinator of the Crisis Staff, and President of the Governing Board of JUPŠ Marjan:
Green Guerrilla documents several potential sites prior to planting, and then, in communication with forestry experts, selects planting sites for species proposed by the foresters themselves. Green Guerrilla, unlike the Marjan Commission and the Crisis Staff who have been left without professionals, has foresters who are happy to tell us what, where, how and when.
Increased patrols by the JUPŠ Marjan rangers are welcome. Perhaps they will now notice the illegal construction, pyromaniacs and other problems in Marjan, which have passed under their radar so far. The trees will continue to sprout either by our own hands or naturally, and no one can claim that any new tree is not part of a plan or program because we’ll remind them of the management program and afforestation plan.
It is a shameful for the team, held responsible by the State Forestry Inspectorate for devastating this forest, to deliberately delay the afforestation process as an election campaign nears. Greetings from the Green Guerrilla. While you p*** we will continue to plant. If you love Marjan get rid of the f****** construction sites in Marjan Forest Park rather than condemning and trying to find us.