Romanian ministers Gavrilescu and Denes disguise the massive problem of the destruction of natural forests at hearing in EU Parliament; EuroNatur and Agent Green provide GPS data of destruction sites.
During a meeting of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety in the European Parliament on 21st January 2019, the Romanian Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Environment, Graţiela Leocadia Gavrilescu, and the Romanian Minister for Water and Forests, Ioan Deneș, both denied any problems with legal and illegal logging in Romania.
Minister Gavrilescu declared that all protected areas in Romania are preserved and well managed. She said the Romanian EU-Council Presidency has, among other topics, the priority of biodiversity. She only came up with vague statements such as: “biodiversity needs to be something we are proud of, regardless of where we come from”.
In response to questions by MEP Martin Häusling, the Romanian Water and Forests Minister, Ioan Denes, said that “what media is referring to is illegal logging”. He added that this “is not a generalized phenomenon. We are talking about illegal logging in private Forests where there was no proper sercives for guarding these forests. We have kicked off thematic specific and inter-institutional controls carried out by the gendarmerie, the police and other institutions in order to ensure a proper observance of the law and a proper circulation of wood materials.”
He avoided saying anything about the large volume of (partly illegal) logging in state owned and state managed forests which occur in protected areas. He also did not react to the severe allegations by NGOs and the media regarding widespread corruption within the Romanian forestry sector.
EuroNatur Foundation and Agent Green reacted strongly to the misleading statements by the Romanian government officials as much hard proof of the unfavourable conservation status of forests in Romanian protected areas have been comprehensively published.
EU must take urgent action
Romania hosts the largest remains of virgin forests within the EU, an estimated area of 100,000 to 200,000 hectares. These unique forests are progressively falling victim to greed, corruption and the negligence of nature conservation laws.
Gabriel Schwaderer, CEO of EuroNatur said: “Europe’s most valuable virgin and natural forests in Romania are being logged at a frightening speed. Even national parks and buffer zones of UNESCO World Heritage sites are not safe from the chainsaws. That the responsible ministers are downplaying and veiling this problem in front of the European Parliament is truly unsettling. We call on the EU institutions to take urgent action to preserve this unique natural heritage in Romania.”
EuroNatur and Agent Green invite EU officials to do bear witness to the logging
The NGOs have invited the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament to take the opportunity around the upcoming events and meetings in Romania to personally witness the devastation on the ground – in the national parks and Natura 2000 sites. Thus, they provide recommendations for eye-opening field excursions. The devastation can be even easily spotted, including through desktop analysis (eg. with Google maps).
– Domogled – Valea National Park, Natura 2000 site and UNESCO World Heritage Site (buffer zone): Less than 50% of the forests there are under sufficient protection. In particular in the upper Cerna valley, logging has been approved by the state and is moving further into high nature value and virgin forests.
GPS data of damaging logging areas: 45°06’04.8″N 22°36’39.6″E (close to the UNESCO World Heritage site component part Iauna Craiova).
– Rodna National Park and Natura 2000 site: Large clearcuts in ecologically highly sensitive mountain forests.
GPS data of a significant logging area: 47°32’58.4″N 24°32’15.0″E
– Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 site: This is probably one of the biggest clusters of virgin forests in temperate part of EU. However, only a small fraction of these forests are under proper protection. Logging is even ravaging permanent study plots of scientists. GPS data of logging areas: 45°38’57.6″N 24°42’51.7″E or 45°32’57.6″N 24°47’01.7″E or 45°25’46.1″N 24°45’08.9″E or 45°26’57.2″N 24°34’02.8″E.
– Maramures Natura 2000 site and Nature Park: This is certainly the worst site in the whole of Romania. Since the EU accession of Romania, entire valleys have been ravaged and devastated by aggressive deforestation.
GPS data of Romania’s largest logging areas: 47°42’17.5″N 24°55’40.0″E
– Apuseni Mountains Natura 2000 site and Nature Park: Large scale clearcuts of huge forest areas.
GPS-Data of giant clearcuts: 46°30’55.5″N 23°01’06.5″E