EuroNatur: Romania’s Government must take courageous action to stop destructive logging networks within forestry sector
Bucharest/ Radolfzell. Primary forests in Romania receive prominent support from all over the world. 200 scientists and forest ecology experts from 27 countries and three continents signed a joint Memorandum initiated by EuroNatur Foundation calling on the Romanian Government to take immediate action to save its highly valuable primary forests. The Memorandum of Scientists was handed over today to the Minister for Water and Forests, Mrs. Adriana Petcu, by EuroNatur CEO Gabriel Schwaderer and Agent Green President Gabriel Paun.
The scientists urge the Romanian Government in particular to immediately impose a logging moratorium of identified and potential primary forests, to put forest authorities – especially Forest Guards – under stricter administrative control for enforcement of the law, to close legal loopholes, to ensure independent management of national parks, to increase nature zones of national parks in order to meet international standards (IUCN criteria) and to provide funds for compensation of private land owners for primary forest protection.
Among the signees of this memorandum is the crème de la crème of international forest ecology scientists and experts : Dr. Ing. Iovu-Adrian Biris / Romania, Prof. Dr. Pierre L. Ibisch / Germany, Prof. Dr. Hans Dieter Knapp (“father” of UNESCO’s European Beech Forest Initiative) / Germany, Prof. Ing. Miroslav Svoboda / Czech Republic, Prof. Brendan Mackey, Ph.D. / Australia, Univ. Prof. Dipl. Ing. Dr. Kurt Zukrigl / Austria, Univ. Prof. Dr. Georg Gratzer / Austria, Prof. Dr. Rainer Luick / Germany, Cyril F. Kormos (Vice President for Policy, WILD Foundation and Vice Chair for World Heritage, IUCN-WCPA) / USA, Dr. James Watson (Wildlife Conservation Society, President – Society for Conservation Biology) / USA, Dr. Ing. Nicolae Donita / Romania, Prof. Dr. Michael Succow (Alternative Nobel Prize laureate) and Prof. William S. Keeton, Ph.D. / USA.
With the Memorandum, the global science community supports their Romanian colleagues who also stand united against the imminent destruction of primary forests.
No other European country hosts more primary forest remains than Romania. An estimated two thirds of the European Union “paradise forests” have survived in the Romanian Carpathians. Together with the Ukraine, Romania is the most important country for conservation of primary forests of the endemic European Beech, which is of global natural importance and subject of an ongoing transnational UNESCO World Natural Heritage nomination. However, many of these areas of outstanding ecological and scientific value have been destroyed by both legal and illegal logging during the past 10 to 15 years. And primary forest destruction continues at an alarming rate – despite some legal improvements during the past years. One major reason for the ongoing primary forest loss is widespread corruption and neglecting of law within the forestry sector.
As a result even Romania’s protected areas do not give proper protection to primary forests: Most of the Romania’s Natura 2000 sites are de facto logging hot spots. Almost all Romanian National Parks fail to meet IUCN best practice criteria for conservation zoning. Primary forests in National Parks such as Domogled are under immediate threat by commercial logging, often disguised as „salvation logging“ and “conservation cutting”.
“Together with 200 scientists and forest ecology experts from all over the globe we call today on the new Romanian Government to take strong action to halt destructive logging of one of Europe’s most precious natural heritages – its last vast primary forests. For way too long politics and authorities in Romania have been watching the destruction of this natural treasure by gloomy practices which are obviously spread widely within the Romanian forestry sector – involving authorities, state forestry and private logging and trading companies. It’s time to take courageous action, now. These precious forests are not just a Romanian matter, they must be saved for all of us and future generations. Primary forests play an eminent important role for climate protection and they are a European biodiversity treasure,” said Gabriel Schwaderer, CEO of EuroNatur Foundation.