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Forest Alert: Romanian Ministry Attacks Own Primary Forest Protection Laws

Anti conservation forces in Ministry utilise Governmental interregnum to shoot at forest protection legislation

Bucharest / Radolfzell, 28 June 2017 – The Romanian Ministry for Water and Forests surprisingly neglects the existence of its 2005 published inventory on primary forest areas in the country and announces to challenge its own legislation on virgin forest protection. This move happened earlier this week, a few days after the Romanian Governmental was dismissed by Parliament and during the absence of a Minister in charge. Crucial parts of Romanian forest protection legislation are based upon the so-called Romanian-Dutch “Pin-Matra”-study, which identified 218.000 ha primary forests in the country. The Ministerial statement from Monday night says, that neither forest authorities nor state forestry Romsilva have that document. Romsilva was a partner of the project and received significant funding.

Romania hosts two thirds of the primary forest remains in the European Union, but logging industry and its networks in politics and administration aggressively counters national forest conservation programmes. EuroNatur and Agent Green urge the new Romanian Government coming into place to ensure that Romania’s national and international forest protection obligations are fulfilled and that not any longer torpedoed by misled interests utilising Governmental institutions. 

”The 2005 inventory was prepared by numerous respected scientists and was published and presented various times. However, a large proportion of the primary forest areas mapped by that study have been destroyed since then – under the eyes of forest authorities and several Governments. Data from the study is published on a Governmental website and was used as basement for several Ministerial Ordinances. It is unbelievable, that strange forces within the Ministry are now creating ‘alternative facts’ by neglecting the existence of that study. This is obviously a very blunt attempt to derail forest protection legislation”, said Gabriel Schwaderer, CEO of EuroNatur.
The irritating Ministerial announcement comes three months after scientists, mountaineers and Agent Green activists stopped a timber truck in Făgăraș Mountains to raise attention on the loss of the last virgin forests. The minister ordered a detailed inspection in the area immediately after the action and the Ministry announced this Monday that they found overcutting up to 4100%. The forest district will be fined for illegally logging of 30.554 m3 timber from virgin forests in Făgăraș Mountains. But these virgin forest were included in the allegedly lost inventory and therefore the Ministry says in the same release that its own control body will verify the making and application of the virgin forests laws since the data sets of the inventories never existed neither at the ministry, nor at the Forestry Research Institute (ICAS) or at Romsilva (the State forest managing entity).
”We have been hacked several times and still managed to secure a copy of the virgin forests inventory and the related data sets. We are ready to help the Ministry with a copy. However, this kind of politics of disinformation and fouls against nature, obviously driven by lobby interests, are damaging the reputation of Romania. Our great forest treasure is being destroyed day by day. Those who are driving logging forward must not be allowed to divert the Ministry away from its responsibilities”, said Gabriel Paun, CEO of Agent Green.

The Romanian Ministry: “RNP-Romsilva’s technical staff was not involved in any way, nor was it informed or consulted when the database was drafted” (PinMatra-study). This images proofs, that Romsilva definately was “involved”, somehow…

Romania: Amnesty for forest crimes?

Facebook posting by Agent Green:

“Instead of speeding up the process to strictly protect the last virgin forests, Romanian State plans to decriminalize planned logging in such forests.

The forest crime law is currently under revision following influence by forest mafia whose lobbyists asked last week in the Parliament to decriminalize many forest crimes and to reduce fines to 10% of the current value.

The draft promoted by the Forest Ministry to be sent to Parliament, so far decriminalizes approval of logging in virgin forests. At the same time there is no fine for actually logging in virgin forests.

Agent Green calls on Ministry for Forests and Water to demand the Parliament to criminalize both, approval and logging of virgin forests with sanctions and prison.”

Logging in old growth forest, Retezat Natura 2000 site. Property of Holzindustrie Schweighofer.
Logging in Retezat Natura 2000 site. Property of Holzindustrie Schweighofer.