The following text is directed at the Romanian government:
The Romanian Carpathians are home to Europe’s largest remnants of primary forest. The forests have been growing there untouched by humans for thousands of years. Romania’s paradise forests are a haven for biodiversity – they provide homes to Europe’s largest populations of bears, lynx and wolves. These magnificent forests also help protect our planet’s climate by capturing and storing huge volumes of carbon safely out of the atmosphere in the soil and trees.
However, this outstanding natural heritage is under acute threat. In recent years, tens of thousands of hectares of primary forests have been logged and destroyed. Europe is currently facing one of the most serious losses of its natural heritage. Forest destruction is fuelled by greed, corruption and criminal networks. Logging roads are now cutting access into many of the most remote and wild remaining forest stands. Forest devastation is also present in National Parks and European Natura 2000 Sites.
Recently, there have been outrageous attempts to lower fines for illegal logging to a level where they simply would not have any impact on illegal logging.
Time is running out! The destruction of virgin forests is happening as you read this.
We, citizens of all countries of this planet, call on the Romanian Government to take immediate action to:
1. Establish an immediate and comprehensive logging moratorium in all potential primary forests – as reported and documented by experts and NGOs, until their conservation value status has been confirmed by independent and scientific research.
2. Grant immediate strict legal protection to all identified primary forests which are located on state owned property.
3. Grant immediate strict legal protection of all identified primary forests in national parks, Natura 2000 sites and nature parks.
4. Increase criminal charges for illegal logging and prohibit pardons for forest crimes.
5. Improve primary forest protection laws to completely ban all kinds of logging, including so called “conservation cutting” and “salvage logging”, in protected primary forests.
6. Implement transparent and sufficient financial mechanisms for compensation payments to private owners of primary forests which are under strict protection regime or are proposed for protection.
7. Vastly improve compliance of Romania’s national parks with international standards and prohibit commercial logging in them. Their management must be independent from exploitation interests.