Tag Archives: Environment

A closer look: The shocking reality of Romania’s logged forest wilderness documented

EuroNatur and Agent Green present a photo documentation and a video that give an insight into the tragic fate of the wild forests in Romania’s Natura 2000 areas. At the same time, the Romanian environmental minister Costel Alexe seems to try distracting media attention from the Natura 2000 issue …

On April 22. 2020, the NGOs Client Earth, EuroNatur and Agent Green submitted a complaint on the progressive destruction of primeval and natural forests in Romania’s Natura 2000 areas. In order to visualize the catastrophic situation of these particularly valuable forests, EuroNatur is now publishing the photo documentation “Natura 2000 and Forests – the Romanian Status Quo” and the video “Out of Control” that give insights into the harsh reality in Romania’s European protected areas.

The photos were taken at local inspections in the Natura 2000 sites: Fagaras Mountains, Domogled – Valea Cernei, Nordul Gorjului de Vest, Semenic – Cheile Carasului and Retezat. They document the progressive destruction of ecologically extremely valuable primary and old growth forests.
The documentation also shows pictures of intact natural forests that illustrate the extraordinary biodiversity and beauty of these forest areas.

More than 300,000 hectares of potential primary and old growth forests are located in the designated Natura 2000 areas. This corresponds to 5% of Romania’s forests. The majority of this outstanding natural heritage is not safe from logging, despite the theoretical protection provided by the EU Nature Directives. EuroNatur, Client Earth and Agent Green have therefore urged the EU to ensure that Romania complies with EU legislation.

Romanian environmental minister Alexe Costel, however, does not seem to appreciate the topic of Natura 2000 and forest protection in Romania very much. According to a post on his Facebook page, he spoke on April 22. 2020, the day of the submission of the EU complaint, to the EU environmental commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius via video. But the EU complaint and the ongoing infringement procedure apparently were not addressed there – at least the Natura 2000 topic is not mentioned in the posting.
Instead, the minister praises himself for improvements to the SUMAL forestry monitoring system. Sure, making SUMAL fit for puropose is a positive thing (after the previous government partially has obstructed it). But as SUMAL is monitoring and tracking legality of wood harvesting is does not solve the problem of all those permissions for logging of primary and old growth forests in national parks and Natura 2000 sites.

The EU has initiated infringement proceedings against the Romanian government precisely because there is clear evidence of tremendous ecological damage to forests (in very good conservation status) in Natura 2000 protedted sites caused by planned cuttings. No serious environmental / appropriate impact assessments have been carried out prior to the felling permissions. As a consequence, Natura 2000 protected habitats and species have been significantly deteriorated from logging. It is therefore evident that EU legislation in the Romanian forestry sector is not being properly implemented on a large scale.

The video conference with the EU Environment Commissioner therefore appears to be a targeted PR stunt to divert attention from the uncomfortable Natura 2000 topic. However, it can be doubted that such tactics work. The EU Commission will probably not be impressed by media distractions …

You can download the file here (click on the image):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video reportage about the fate of primary and old growth forests in Natura 2000 sites:

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…

 

 

 

 

Colourful protests outside Romanian parliament call for protection of virgin forests

On Sunday and Monday, 19th and 20th May 2019, environmentalists from EuroNatur and Agent Green joined with citizens of Bucharest to welcome EU Environment Ministers to Bucharest.

On Sunday, residents of the city, young and old, came together to paint the sidewalk in front of the enormous Romanian parliament building (one of the largest buildings in the world) with pictures and inscriptions calling for the protection of Romania’s magnificent forests. Their messages read that  forests are important habitat, they provide clean air and fresh water and are critical to combat climate change.

With the EU election less than a week away, they showed that it is important to vote and that the EU can and should do a lot to more to ensure the last virgin and old-growth forests of the EU are permanently protected.

Romania’s most famous street artist painted a huge picture in the square right in front of Parliament.

Giant street art and banner calling for forest protection outside Romanian Parliament.

On Monday, activists welcomed EU environment ministers who were meeting in the Parliament. with a banner and a television footage showing the loss from logging in Romania’s forests. A bear held a banner showing a large clear-cut forest with the words “Welcome to Romania” highlighting the situation in the country.

Pedestrians, car drivers and bus passengers all showed their support for forest protection. Passersby stopped, cars honked their horns, and people waved from buses and passenger seats. It was clear that Bucharest residents want to see their forest protected.

For the animals that call these forests home, including bears, wolves and lynx, for the protection of the climate and for all future generations – many young kids who painted on the sidewalk – these forests deserve immediate protection..

We call on the Romanian government with the support of the EU to act quickly to permanently protect these crown jewels of European natural heritage.

Auch kleine Waldfans halfen mit