Tag Archives: Gabriel Paun

Thomas Waitz MEP and Agent Green witnessing illegal logging by Romanian state forests – video

Fact-finding trip by Thomas Waitz, MEP, with Agent Green reveals that illegal logging in Natura 2000 areas continues regardless of EU infringement proceedings
 
Thomas Waitz, Member of the European Parliament, and Gabriel Paun, President of Agent Green, are currently (October 10, 2020) on a field mission in Romania checking Natura 2000 sites for compliance with EU Natura 2000 legislation. In a video message, Gabriel Paun and Thomas Waitz reported that they witnessed destructive and illegal logging on locations that are theoretically protected by EU’s Natura 2000 legislation, including Domogled – Valea Cernei National Park.
 
In the Domogled – Valea Cernei National Park / Natura 2000 area, they even discovered logging by the state-owned forest company Romsilva on a state-owned property on which the Bucharest High Court suspended all logging permits earlier this year.
 
In other words: state-paid foresters are pushing forward cutting down of state-owned trees in a national park and Natura 2000 site despite the country’s Supreme Court suspending the forest management plans in the part of the very forest district.
 

At the same time, the European Commission is pursuing infringement proceedings against the Romanian state after EuroNatur, Client Earth and Agent Green filed complaints about the systematic destruction of forests in Romania’s Natura 2000 areas and illegal logging.

 
The fact that the logging continues even against High Court ruling unmasks the green washing by the romanian forest industry: forestry officials and industry-related professors have recently outbid each other claiming that the romanian forestry is doing better and acting more sustainable than the foresters in “the west”.
 
Thomas Waitz and Gabriel Paun did also trace a wood truck from the Natura 2000 Ținutul Pădurenilor site to the factory of Austrian chipboard company Kronospan in Sebes. The yard of Kronospan factory is filled with logs from large trees, mainly beech. Kronospan, the world’s largest chipboard producer, claims on the respective website: “We ensure that suppliers do not use wood from national parks, natural preserves, virgin forests and other conservation areas.” This is apparently in severe contradiction to the recent observations. 
 
More details you can view on this video:
 
The location of the primary platform where the illegal wood cut in Domogled National Park is loaded in despite the High Court / ICCJ suspended all logging permissions in the area.

Happy Birthday Agent Green! 10 Years of Effective Investigations, Exposures and Positive Change

10 years ago, the non-governmental environment organisation, Agent Green, made a commitment to Romania’s nature: to fight for its protection.
Founder and president Gabriel Paun had always felt connected to nature and feared the rising pressures on nature. The increased and broadened destruction gave him the final push in 2009 to start the organisation, Agent Green.

Article by Alina Florescu

Only by daring did they have the chance to make a change. And they did! Impressive, resilient and insistent, Agent Green’s contribution to the actual state of Romania’s most pristine areas’ conservation is unwavering today, but now, needs to continue more than ever.
The first projects and actions Agent Green started ten years ago were against waste and litter in the environment but soon the organisation started focusing on forests and doing their first investigations and actions for which they are now widely known.

The core of Agent Green’s mission is to serve nature’s real needs. As the Romanian state often acts against nature, the organisation has shown that community mobilisation and consistency do lead to victories. One example is the success that exposed and prevented the destruction of the nature surrounding Sarmizegetusa Regia, a 2000-year-old historical military centre which is now enscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
All of Agent Green´s successes were possible only together with their passionate supporters who love nature and are willing to get active to speak up for nature.

Through its investigative profile, Agent Green occupies a niche in Romania and chooses objectives carefully, trying to force change, which otherwise seems unreachable. The organisation is currently running more than 30 cases in court with different forestry administrators. In 2018 Agent Green has, like many years before, publicly protested and therefore helped raise the awareness of logging in protected areas, showing footage which has been wide reaching in the Romanian media and has also been shown on international media.

“Do not forget that Planet Earth is nearly 5 billion years old, where millions of fauna and flora species have evolved naturally and coexisted in harmony. We, the humans, came only less than 1 million years ago and are vitally dependent on nature’s resources. But we are wasting them at rapid speed. Romania’s nature is blessed, we have the biggest tracts of rich and very old forests left in the European Union. We still have forests untouched and preserved for thousands of years. Romania should be proud of them. And therefore, we must act together and constantly push for the better protection of our forests.” says Gabriel Paun, Agent Green’s president.

Action by Agent Green in front of the EU nature directors meeting in Brasov (April 8, 2019)
Agent Green´s president Gabriel Paun together with Member of the European Parliament Thomas Waitz at an action in Domogled National Park in May 2018
Fagaras Natura 2000 Site, Romania – March 10, 2017: Agent Green and international forest protectors (including scientists and mountaineers) stop logging trucks in Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 site and call on Romanian Government to take action saving Europe’s last large primary forests in Romania.

 

 

 

 

Save Europe’s last paradise forests!

Romanian forest conservationist received EuroNatur Award 2016

Press release, 12 October 2016

Radolfzell/ Mainau Island (Lake Constance), Germany. “For all the massive deforestation happening in Romania, the country still is the last within the European Union to harbour substantial areas of really primeval forests. That’s what I am fighting for. I will not rest until Romania’s paradise forests are safe”, says Romanian biologist and campaigner Gabriel Paun. For this outstanding commitment, today he received the EuroNatur Award 2016 on Mainau Island (Lake Constance).

“The destruction of the Carpathian old-growth forests is a European issue and a concern for all of us. This unique European natural heritage is being destroyed for short-term profits, largely illegally, in spite of national and international conservation provisions,” says Christel Schroeder, president of nature conservation foundation EuroNatur. Week after week, thousands of trees are being cut down – many of them in areas that had been untouched by man for centuries and that are among the most magnificent forests that we have left. “By giving this year’s EuroNatur Award to Gabriel Paun, we send a clear signal for the protection and against the destruction of Europe’s last primeval forests. We are honouring his courage in uncovering the scandalous deforestation and his braveness in fighting a seemingly insuperable opponent,” states Christel Schroeder on the reasons for selecting this year’s laureate.

The Romanian authorities are not strictly enforcing the primeval forests’ legal conservation status. Not even if they are situated in a national park or an area protected by EU laws, centuries-old giant trees are safe from the chainsaws. Romania currently still harbours 60% of the continent’s remaining old-growth forests (excl. Russia). But over the past ten years, vast areas of these more than 6000-year-old forest ecosystems have been destroyed. The wood is also being sold in German DIY stores.

Background information:

  • EuroNatur Award: The EuroNatur Award is non-monetary. It shall honour outstanding commitments in the field of nature conservation. Laureates of previous years include Jonathan Franzen, Prince Charles, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Ernst Paul Dörfler, Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, and Hnutí Duha (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic). Receiving the EuroNatur Award in 2014 provided the Czech nature conservation organisation Hnutí Duha with the necessary international backing to significantly progress wilderness protection in Šumava National Park. The EuroNatur Award 2016 was given on 12 October 2016 at 5 p.m. to Gabriel Paun on Mainau Island (Lake Constance).
  • Gabriel Paun is a Romanian biologist campaigning for nature conservation and animal protection. Working for Greenpeace, he was instrumental in achieving a ban of genetically modified soy in Romania. He’s also active for Four Paws and Animals International. For many years he has been campaigning for forest protection. Among his achievements is a halt to illegal construction works on route 66a through Domogled and Retezat National Parks in Romania which harbour some of the last primeval beech forests of Europe. Since 2009 Gabriel Paun is founding president of the Romanian nature conservation NGO Agent Green.