Forest destruction unabatedly continues in Domogled National Park – immediate moratorium on logging of state-owned primeval forests needed
Press release, 1 June 2016
Radolfzell / Cerna Valley. In spite of affirmations by the government to the contrary, and despite primeval forests are protected by law since 2008, destruction of old-growth forests continues unabatedly in Romania. A trip to the Domogled-Valea Cernei National Park in the southwest of Romania revealed shocking forest destruction: EuroNatur partner and nature photographer Matthias Schickhofer reports on very recent logging of old-growth beech forests in the centre of the national park, logging roads in creek beds, and forest soils completely devastated by wood harvesting machines.
The international nature conservation foundation EuroNatur urgently calls on the Romanian government to effectively halt destruction of primeval forests. “It’s totally unacceptable that Romania’s primeval forests fall victim to the chainsaws particularly in national parks and Natura 2000 sites. Putting an end to logging of state-owned old-growth forests within these protected areas is an action the Romanian government could impose immediately”, Gabriel Schwaderer, CEO of EuroNatur, points out.
As the one EU Member State where more old-growth forests survived to date than anywhere else, Romania still harbours 60% of the remaining primeval forests of Europe (excl. Russia). But this unique natural treasure is dwindling away: Over the past ten years, vast areas of these more than 6000-year-old forest ecosystems have been destroyed. Many of these primeval forests have been cut down illegally or as a result of fraudulent land restitution (by falsification of documents).
As recently as 17 May 2016 EuroNatur raised critique that logging even takes place in the buffer zone of the Şinca virgin forest which had been nominated a World Natural Heritage Site by the Romanian government. In 2009 there was still a vast contiguous old-growth forest, which is now being more and more fragmented. The neighbouring valley faces logging in age-old forests, too – despite being declared a Natura 2000 site (Făgăraş Mountains) and despite being mapped as a primeval forest in the country’s forest inventory already more than 10 years ago.
The renowned “Academia Română“ also recently called on president Klaus Johannis and prime minister Dacian Cioloş to reduce logging across the country and to completely stop it in national parks.
However, the old-growth forests of Şinca and Domogled–Valea Cernei are not the only ones affected by logging. Most of the other protected areas in Romania face breaches of both Romanian laws and the EU Habitats Directive, too. The latter rules out any deterioration of the conservation status of natural habitats in Natura 2000 sites.
EuroNatur Foundation calls on the interim government and on the Romanian parliament to set the right course prior to the start of the campaigns for the national elections scheduled for November 2016. In addition to stopping all logging activities in old-growth forests in protected areas and on state-owned land, independent control is urgently needed and the mapping of old-growth forests has to be completed as soon as possible. Gabriel Schwaderer: “The national register of primeval forests, which is currently under progress, has to be free of rotten compromises and tricks. Europe lost nearly all of its primeval forests. Therefore we now have to fight for every single area and will follow developments very closely.”