Tag Archives: destruction

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…





Romanian EU Presidency 2019: Eyes on Romania – and the virgin forest destruction

EuroNatur and Agent Green call on Romania and EU to turn ignorance into action. Counter shows forest destruction in real time.

Romania is hosting the Presidency of the EU Council until 30th of June – for the first time since its EU accession. EuroNatur Foundation and Agent Green take this opportunity to draw international attention to the escalating logging crisis: Romania´s vast virgin and natural forest remains vanishing at a frightening speed. A counter will showcase the number of trees cut illegally during Romania´s EU presidency.

„Until today, no appropriate action has been taken to stop this dramatic loss of outstanding nature; neither by Romania nor by the EU. Therefore EuroNatur and Agent Green will put an unmissable public spotlight on the Romanian forest drama. A counter will showcase the logging disaster in numbers of trees cut illegally and actions will come along“, Gabriel Paun, president of Agent Green says.

Romania hosts an estimated 100.000 – 200.000 ha of virgin forests, the biggest share of this almost extinct ecosystem in the EU. Solid figures do not exist. In December 2018, secret kept data from Romania’s second Forest Inventory were leaked to media. These figures show a catastrophic scale of illegal logging as the annual wood cut in Romania is about 38 Mio m3, whereas legal cut (as laid down in forest management plans) is only 18 Mio m3 per year.

This means: the illegal logging volume in Romania is obviously larger than the legal one.

This is unprecedented in the EU and should be halted immediately. And logging is also happening in protected areas, such as Natura 2000 sites. EuroNatur and Agent Green will highlight this large scale breach of EU legislation with a logging counter following the Romanian EU presidency as well as civil society actions, reminding politicians and delegates that European natural heritage in Romania gets lost every minute.

Between January and June several council meetings, an EU summit and numerous other events will take place in Romania. Today, the presidents of the European Commission, the European Council, the European Parliament and the Commissioners’ College (all EU commissioners) will visit Bucharest for the official launch ceremony and an initial meeting with the Romanian government.

The government will most likely present a bright and polished image of the country. Hopefully the presidency will also lead to increased attention on Romania’s down sides: corruption, attempts by the current government to weaken anti-mafia prosecutors – and the logging disaster.

„We will ensure that this biggest nature crisis of the EU will no longer be ignored and our actions will show that this is an important topic also for the European society“, Gabriel Schwaderer, Executive Director of EuroNatur Foundation announces. 

*** EuroNatur and Agent Green call on all European citizens to take action – and to support the petition, sign up for the newsletter and action alerts and to join the movement. More details about activities will be published soon…***

Numerous activities will remind politicians at the forest crisis in Romania. Please sign up to our newsletter – and join!

Domogled National Park: Parts of Cernisoara Virgin Forest Auctioned for Logging

In the heart of Romania’s largest national park – Domogled-Valea Cernei – a large piece of pristine virgin forest wilderness has survived until today: the wild woodland of Cernisoara. The natural forest complex is larger than 1500 ha, a rare phenomenon in heavily managed Europe. But only a part of this natural gem is under proper protection. Logging permissions are up for auction and logging bulldozers might enter this paradise place soon…
At the bottom of Cerna valley, civilisation has left its traces: summer pastures, a dirt road, ruins of failed touristic projects and a large hydro lake (from communist times). But if you look uphill, you see a different world: large, wild forests. Some of the side vallyes of Cerna river are outstanding, pathless wilderness, covered by rich virgin forests with centuries old trees. Unfortunately only a fraction of this outstanding wilderness gem of European is protected, even though it is located in the middle of a national park and a Natura 2000 site.
Most of the park’s territory is owned by the Romanian state. The national park administration is financed and controlled by state forestry agency Romsilva. The result of this configuration is not the safeguarding of nature, but rather the opposite: a strong motivation for exploitation. Today, only 50% of the entire park is protected.  Half the park does not differ from logging sites outside the national park. Domogled is just one example of this management tragedy; the situation in other national parks is no different.
In early 2017 Romsilva issued permits for logging in several virgin and old growth forests within the national park. The national park administration did not object to the planned destruction. In April 2017 logging tractors entered the remote wilderness in Cernisoara forest complex and they began to cut a brutal forest road into the pristine western slope of upper Radoteasa valley. For the first time ever, the large wilderness was opened for destruction.

Romania Deliberately Destroys State Owned Primary Forests from AGENT GREEN on Vimeo.

More untouched forest to be logged soon?

Just recently, in October 2018, Romsilva auctioned four more parcels of virgin forests in Radoteasa valley to be cut down and sold. One of these parcels, No. 25 (see below), has been identified as virgin forest area (“paduri virgine”) by a WWF inventory in 2016. The wild forest also has been  submitted for inclusion into the Romanian forest protection programme: “National Catalogue of Virgin Forests”.

But now some of these paradise forests have appeared on the cutting list. Unfortunately, only parts of the Cernisoara virgin forest haven been put under the protection shield of the park’s “core zone”. A large area (500 ha) of forest which is identical with the forest included in the core zone is unprotected and threatened by logging.
Radoteasa Valley in the Domogled-Valea Cernei National Park + UNESCO World Heritage Site: according to the plans of Romsilva, this unique wilderness will be gradually cut down … The slope on the lower right in the picture was opened for logging only in the spring of 2017 and has been partially cut down. The rest of the valley now needs much better protection!
Logging permissions in untouched Cernisoara virgin forest (Domogled – Valea Cernei national park): Parcel 25 has been identified as “virgin forest” (PV = paduri virgine) by WWF Romania and the national park.
Romania hosts the largest tracks of virgin forests in EU…
An estimated 100,000 – 200,000 hectares of forest have so far not been altered significantly by humans. But they are vanishing rapidly. Even in Romania’s national parks and Natura 2000 sites logging of natural forests is progressing. Logging, both legal and illegal is a big problem. But most of the deterioration or degradation of virgin forests is happening with the official permission of Romsilva, with forest authorities and with the full endorsement of the Romanian government.
This logging tragedy in Romania is the biggest nature crisis in the EU today…
Cernisoara forest protected – or not?
In May 2018, Member of European Parliament Thomas Waitz visited the Cernisoara virgin forests upon invitation from EuroNatur and Agent Green. Romsilva’s Head of Nature Conservation, Dragos Mihai, also joined the trip. He was asked whether the wilderness of Radoteasa could be protected. He signalled – in the presence of Romanian conservationists from Agent Green and Austrian journalists – that the old forest will be included in the strictly protected core zone of the national park.
Are at least parts of Cernisoara forest safe now? Unfortunately, Dragos Mihai’s words were obviously not worth a lot. Most likely Romsilva never gave up their logging intentions. In the meantime, government officials have also confirmed in a letter to Romanian Senator Mihai Goţiui that forest exploitation in Cernisoara shall proceed..
In other words: Europe’s last large tracks of virgin forests are being systematically destroyed with the full, official endorsement of the Romanian government.

Cutting of virgin forest in a UNESCO site’s buffer zone?
Domogled national park also hosts the largest share of Romanian components parts of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which protects Europe’s last virgin and old growth beech forests. The almost 500 ha unprotected complex of Cernisoara virgin forest complex does not differ at all from the forests protected within the UNESCO site. Even close to the boundaries of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “
Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europeforest parcels have been listed for logging.
The whole national park is designated as a “buffer zone” of the World Heritate site. Romsilva argues that logging in the buffer zone is legally viable. But is logging of virgin forest really acceptable in the buffer zone of a UNESCO World Heritage site?
Europe’s eyes will be on Romania in 2019 when it  hosts the EU-presidency. EuroNatur Foundation and Agent Green call on both the Romanian government and the EU Commission to take urgent action to preserve this outstanding natural heritage.
Wild Radoteasa valley in Cernisoara section of Domogled – Valea Cernei national park
Cernisoara forest is a truly wild place and has to be be included into the strictly protected zone of the national park.
These ancient trees in parcel 45B are also designated to be logged.
The western slope of Radoteasa valley in May 2018.
Devastation meets pristine wilderness: destroyed  western slope of Radoteasa valley looking at the untouched eastern part…
Logging tractor in Cernisoara virgin forests in 2017. Will they return in 2019?