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Large majority in EU supports call for better global forest protection, new poll shows

Among all EU citizens, Romanians show strongest attachment to forests and their protection

On May 21, 2019, the international non governmental organization Fern (Brussels) published a new YouGov survey documenting the very high importance of forest conservation for the EU population: 87 percent of EU respondents favour new laws to combat global forest destruction.

The majority of respondents say that neither their national governments (66 percent) nor the EU (61 percent) do enough to fight global deforestation. 91% of Europeans and 96% of people in Romania are concerned about forests and wildlife. 88% of respondents in Romania said that their government is not doing enough to combat global forest destruction.

Romanians show a clear lead with 82% of people “strongly agree” with the statement “I really care about forests & wildlife”— by far the highest in the EU, noticeably higher than other countries.

Also, in Romania, 86% of people “strongly agree” with the statement “Deforestation is harmful to the people and wildlife that live in the affected areas”.  This is a much higher score than in other countries, suggesting most Romanians are very much aware of and concerned about the enormous level of forest destruction occurring in their country.

In Slovakia, where forest destruction is also a major issue in the public, it was 69% of people agreeing with this statement, one of the highest in the EU (alongside Bulgaria and Spain)

This results show that people are much more eager to care about forests when they actually still have them in their country – as in Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, which still have significant tracts of natural forests. 

Furthermore, the numbers went  strongly against the common stereotype that it is only “wealthier” people who care about the environment: the countries with the lowest levels of people saying they “strongly agreed” with “I really care about forest & wildlife” were German, the Netherlands, and Denmark. 

Also, in massively forested but wealthy countries like Sweden or Finland, the numbers were much lower than in forested but poorer countries like Romania, Slovakia & Bulgaria.  

On 6th of May, the UN’s World Biodiversity Council – IPBES had cited climate protection as being of equally important than biodiversity preservation and restoration – in a seminal report warning about the threat of mass extinction and loss of natural ecosystems.

The IPBES results and the poll responses make clear, with a view to the forthcoming EU elections, that forest conservation is a an important piece of homework for the EU and its policies. 

Thus it is very important to participate in the election to the European Parliament and to strengthen environmental protection and nature conservation in the EU.

 

Romania hosts the largest natural forest remains within the EU, but no sufficient action is taken neither by the Romanian government nor by the EU to stop the progressing logging bulldozers…

 

 

 

 

Call on EU Summit in Sibiu: Fight ecosystem crisis, save Romania’s forest treasure

In an open letter, EuroNatur and AgentGreen call on EU leaders to comprehensively protect old growth forests in Romania.

++ Final Conference of the World Biodiversity Council confirms the seriousness of the threats from global biodiversity and ecosystem destruction ++ One of the most urgent measures is the protection of old forests ++ EuroNatur and Agent Green urge the EU heads of government to finally protect the virgin and old growth forests in Romania ++

On the occasion of the EU summit on 9 May 2019 in Sibiu, Romania, the international nature conservation foundation EuroNatur and its Romanian partner organization Agent Green draw attention to the nature conservation drama in the Romanian Carpathians. In an open letter, they call on the heads of state of the European Union to put the continued destruction of Romania’s old growth and primary forests on the agenda of the meeting and to stand up for an to the logging.

“Since Romania’s accession to the European Union, almost half of the primary forests known so far have been cut down. Logging does not even stop at protected areas. All this is happening before the eyes of the Romanian government and the European Union, “says Gabriel Schwaderer, CEO of EuroNatur.

In the final report of the IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – World Biodiversity Council), which was presented on May 6 in Paris, scientists have once again warned of the alarming state of decline of the planet’s biodiversity. They agree that species extinction is no longer just an environmental problem, but that whole ecosystems are becoming unstable, threatening the foundations of food, clean water and fresh air. The protection of primeval and very natural forests is given a high priority by many renowned scientists.

Read more:  Opinion piece by Sir Robert Watson, the chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Giant clearcut in Romania’s Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 site: IPBES reports warns about global impacts of forest destrcution.

NGOs challenge the Romanian Government at Aarhus Convention and EU Commission over forest logging disaster

Brasov, Romania (April 8, 2019) – Today, in a press conference held in Brasov next to the Conference of EU Nature Directors, the forest lawyer of Agent Green announced the launch of complaints against the Romanian government due to strong evidence of legal breaches of EU legislation in relation to the ongoing logging disaster in Romania’s forests. The complaints criticise systemic failures by Romania: Forest management plans including logging permissions within Natura 2000 sites have been approved before any environmental checks and public consultations were pursued. The formal complaint will be submitted to the European Commission and the Aarhus Compliance Committee.

The press conference took place at the same venue where EU 28 biodiversity directors met during the Romanian presidency of the EU. The officials were welcomed with protest banners by Agent Green activists and invited to watch filmed evidence of recent destruction of EU protected Natura 2000 sites. The footage contradicts the claim of the Romanian Government that all laws and regulations are adhered to in Romania’s forests A broadcast on Facebook exposed giant clear-cuts stretching over whole mountain slopes in the Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 site and was shown to journalist and officials attending the EU conference.

Dezastrul din Munții Făgăraș from AGENT GREEN on Vimeo.

„The Romanian government enforced the forestry management plans within Natura 2000 sites before performing Strategic Environmental Assessments and the Appropriate Assessments as required by European legislation, and before the approval Order of the environmental minister was issued. The enforcement of the forest management plans before the environmental evaluation even started also breaches the Aarhus Convention, because public consultation must be realised before any decision was made, not after the plan was already enforced. We urge the EU Commission and the Aarhus Compliance Committee to turn this into a quick and hard infringement against Romania to halt the progressing large scale logging in many of Europe’s most valuable natural and virgin forests within Natura 2000 sites”, said Catalina Radulescu, Romanian lawyer partnering with Agent Green.

Romania hosts the largest natural and virgin forest heritage within the temperate climate zone of the EU. Several hundreds of thousands of hectares of these high conservation value forests are located within Natura 2000 sites, but lack proper protection. Thus, Agent Green and the Germany based EuroNatur Foundation are collaborating to document the systemic failure of the Romanian government to ensure proper implementation of the Natura 2000 protected areas network.
However, the Romanian government has denied access to relevant environmental information, meaning NGOs have not been able to give hard and detailed proof for the systemic implementation errors, which are clearly identifiable in many of Romania’s Natura 2000 sites. For this reason, no formal complaint for breaches of Natura 2000 has yet been filed with the European Commission.

„The destruction in the old-growth and virgin forests is clearly visible on satellite images and on the ground. In order to be able to file a complaint there is the need to provide documented evidence that breaches of Nature Directives are intentional and ongoing. But the Romanian government restricts access to relevant environmental information that should have been made available publicly. The Romanian Justice backs up this behaviour. So we are currently running 32 trials just to get access to the forest management plans. Having access to this documents is key to check consistency of forest management plans with the Natura 2000 management regimes to preserve listed habitats and species. Since the Justice ruled in some of the cases to keep this information secret we have no other choice but to escalate this case with the Aarhus Compliance Committee for violation of both access to information and public consultation pillars. We are confident that Aarhus will counter and correct the Romanian judiciary”, said Gabriel Paun from Agent Green.

Raising the Alarm for Romanian Forests from AGENT GREEN on Vimeo.