Joint press release
April 12th, 2019
Press release Today, Romanian, German and international environmental protection organisations call for a joint appeal to permanently protect potential virgin and old-growth forests in Romania and to prevent the logging of trees in strictly protected areas. The appeal is addressed to the Romanian Minister for the Environment and Deputy Prime Minister, Gratiela Leocadia Gavrilescu, the Romanian Minister for Forests, Ioan Deneș, as well as to the head of the Romanian state forest manager Romsilva, Gheorghe Mihailescu. Romania currently holds the EU Presidency.
Romania’s forests preserve outstanding European natural heritage. They safeguard biological diversity and store enormous amounts of carbon, thus they help to stabilise the global climate. They are also home to numerous endemic species and provide refuge for European brown bears, wolves and lynxes.
Many of these forests are located in protected areas such as national parks, biosphere reserves and Natura 2000 sites. The EU Habitats Directive prohibits the deterioration of protected habitats and species within these.
Since the ruling of the European Court of Justice on the Polish Bialowieza area, it has become clear that the deforestation of species-rich old forests in Natura 2000 sites is not compatible with the EU nature conservation directives. Nevertheless, intensive commercial forestry is carried out in such areas as well as in national parks and in the buffer zones of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Romania.
The Romanian nature conservation organisation Agent Green and the internationally active EuroNatur Foundation possess leaked information from the second National Forest Inventory, which is still only partially published. This information shows that the average annual felling in Romania is 38 million cubic metres of wood, but only 18 million cubic metres are covered by approved forest management plans. Evidently, there is a massive and nationwide problem with corruption and illegal practices in Romanian forestry.
The state-owned forest mananger Romsilva administers 12 out of 13 national parks. It therefore has a special responsibility to comply with nature conservation obligations.
The undersigned environmental organisations call for a fundamental change in Romanian forest policy to be necessary. In particular, they call for the comprehensive implementation of the EU nature directives. Management plans for protected areas must be adapted in such a way that the protection of all natural and potential virgin forests is guaranteed in a good state of conservation. Unprotected primary and natural forest areas urgently need to be included in the corresponding national catalogue. In addition, independent national park administrations are required, which are primarily committed to nature conservation objectives, as well as public basic financing for national parks.
The appeal is signed by representatives of the following environmental organisations:
AgentGreen (Romania), BUND – Friends Of The Earth Germany, BUND Naturschutz in Bayern, EuroNatur Stiftung, Fern, Forum Ecology and Paper, Forum Environment and Development, Friends Of The Earth Europe (FoEE), international young naturefriends, NaturFreunde Deutschland, Pro Regenwald, Rainforest Rescue and ROBIN WOOD.