No path leads into the Boia Mica valley. Not yet ...
Although the Fagaras Mountains lie within a Natura 2000 site, pristine Boia Mica is not protected and could be destroyed at any moment. Local landowners want to log. A logging road is already at the gate to the wilderness.
Nera Forest: 6000 years old, 5000 hectares in size.
A window into pre-historic times in Europe. This is what Central Europe once mainly looked like - an ocean of trees. Our last primary forests allow access to that ancient world. They are invaluable to science.
The official reason was the bark beetle. In 2013, the logging trucks endlessly thundered through the Fagaras mountains valley. Now the mountain sides are naked. It will take decades for these cleared areas to grow back. Until then it's catastrophic for soil erosion, mudslides and steep flooding...
Red beech forests only grow in Europe. 5000 years ago, wild beech forests covered large parts of the continent. In order to preserve the last remaining primary beech forests, UNESCO has launched a protection program. Gorgeous Iauna Craiova forest (pictured) is on the UNESCO nomination list.
Not far from the proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Iauna Craiova Valley the native forest of Domogled National Park is destroyed: trees have been smashed down and the soil has been devastated. These wounds at the heart of the national park will take centuries to heal.
Europe's remaining primeval forests have thrived continuously since the last Ice Age and are constantly evolving and resilient. They are therefore extremely stable ecosystems. When they are logged, however, it can take many centuries for them to recover and reach that state again.
The hunger for wood of international sawmills and the greed of land and wood robbers has driven forest destruction in Romania in the last 10-15 years to its peak. Laws have been breached and ignored and violations of the law have gone unpunished. All in the last virgin forests of Europe.
The highly endangered hermit beetle can only survive in forests with old trees and deadwood. The last remaining virgin forests are critical habitat for many of rare plants and animals. If the forests are logged, these animals die with them.
Vast amounts of carbon are stored in the old trees and in the soil reservoirs in virgin forests. This carbon is dangerously released into the atmosphere when these forests are logged and the wood breaks down or combusts. Protecting virgin forests is a critical contribution to climate protection.