EuroNatur and Agent Green raise the alarm: forest industry groups and Ministry push for lower fines for illegal logging and destruction of primeval forests in Romania
#SaveParadiseForests: Launch of international campaign to protect Europe’s last paradise forests
Bucharest, Radolfzell, 3 March 2017. Romania hosts about two thirds of the European Union’s old-growth forests. The Carpathian Mountains in Romania are home to one of the greatest treasures of Europe’s natural heritage. However, largely unnoticed by the European public, in recent years tens of thousands of hectares of old-growth forests have been permanently destroyed. Even national parks and Natura 2000 sites cannot protect the forests from the chainsaws – large parts of the destruction of old-growth forests take place right in these areas.
In order to make this ecological tragedy an international issue, nature conservation foundation EuroNatur and Romanian NGO Agent Green now launch the joint campaign “SaveParadiseForests”.
“The Romanian government has to live up to its responsibility for the European natural heritage. Europe’s last paradise forests can only be saved by an immediate moratorium on logging on all forest areas that potentially include old-growth forests. Once primeval forests are destroyed, it takes many centuries until forests can reach a comparable ecological quality again”, states EuroNatur CEO Gabriel Schwaderer. “Particularly old-growth forests on state-owned land must receive strict protection immediately.”
The Romanian parliament currently discusses a bill which would dramatically lower the maximum penalties for illegal logging. This might further aggravate the forests’ situation. “Reducing fines for illegal logging by 90% is a completely wrong signal. Destruction of old-growth forests must not be downgraded to trivial offence. People in Romania are fed up with corruption and misgovernment. Criminal activities are a main reason for forest destruction in Romania. This law of amnesty for forest destruction therefore has to be discarded”, demands Gabriel Paun, president of Romanian nature conservation NGO Agent Green. On the contrary, he calls on the government to strongly increase penalties for illegal logging and for destruction of old-growth forests.
Agent Green and EuroNatur jointly call on the international public to sign a petition to protect old-growth forests in Romania. “The more people sign this international call, the stronger is our message to the Romanian government”, says Gabriel Paun.