Tag Archives: national park

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.

Agent Green success: Romanian High Court stops logging of protected old growth forests

State forestry company continued logging despite the High Court has suspended logging permits

The Romanian environmental NGO Agent Green has been filing several lawsuits challenging inappropriate forest management plans in Natura 2000 protected areas to stop the unlawful destruction of old growth and primary forests.Recently, the Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice suspends several logging plans on more than 30.000 hectares forest land.

Agent Green, EuroNatur and Client Earth have filed EU complaints against the Romanian government because forest management plans in Romania do not comply with the EU Nature directives and the Strategic Environmental Assessment directive. The European Commission has responded to this complaint in February 2020 and launched an infringement procedure against the Romanian state.
The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, which was presented by the European Commission in spring 2020, aims to protect all “old growth and primary forests” in the EU. Romania’s forest treasure is one of the most important contributions to this goal – if the ongoing scandalous old growth forest destruction is stopped immediately.
But the ignorance of Romanian forestry about forest protection legislation continues …

However, there are also successes coming in:
Recently, two legal disputes resulted in High Court rulings suspending the management of forest plans in both the Domogled – Valea Cernei National Park and Natura 2000 site as well as the neighboring Natura 2000 site “Nordul Gorjului de vest”. In these protected areas there are still some larger tracks of old growth and primary forests with a very high biodiversity value.

Agent Green has started a lawsuit against the Ministry of Environment and National Forest Administration RNP Romsilva to suspend (“anulment”) logging on an area of almost 20,000 hectares in Domogled National Park – Cerna Valley. The High Court of Cassation and Justice granted an injunctive relief in February this year and suspended the respective forest manegment plans. However, RNP Romsilva appealed against the court ruling. Now, the High Court of Cassation and Justice rejected the revision request made by RNP Romsilva.

This time the decision is final and the old growth forest is safe. Thanks to Agent Green’s lawyer Catalina Radulescu, the forest management plans of Baia de Arama Forest Department, Mehedinti County are suspended until the “anulment case” will be finalized. The primary and old-growth forests of this area are being protected from chainsaws for this period – and hopefully forever.
(Orginal file: here)

Another 14,612.36 hectares of forests are saved from logging in West Gorj Mountains (Mehedinți and Vâlcan Mountains) following a lawsuit initiated by Agent Green. On May 15 2020, the High Court granted an injunctive relief and suspended all logging plans until the “annulement case” – permanent suspension – is finalized. However, logging continued illegally in full ignorance of the court decision.

In July 2020, Agent Green informed the forest guard that the logging was continuing illegally. The officials finally checked the logging locations and ordered to stop any forestry work.

The saved 14,612  hectares of forests overlap with a part of the Domogled – Valea Cernei National Park (and Natura 2000 site) and with the Natura 2000 site “Nordul Gorjului de Vest” in remote Vâlcan mountains.

Agent Green welcomes the decisions of the High Court. At the same time, the NGO expresses serious concerns that the Romanian state-owned forest company Romsilva apparently ignored the decisions of the High Court and shamelessly continued to fell the forest in protected areas, simply ignoring the ruling by the supreme judges.

Unfortunately, the order of the Forest Guard only stipulates that the logging must be stopped, but not when. Neither the damage caused nor fines and penalties are mentioned. Thus, the fight to protect these extremly valueable forests continues as the court’s decision is not final.

Romsilva has already appealed …

(Orginal file: here)

Awesome old growth forests in Vâlcan mountains. How long will they survive?
Destructive (but EU financed) road construction in EU protected Vâlcan mountains.

 

UNESCO and IUCN visit Romania’s paradise forests

++ UNESCO and IUCN representatives in the forest of the Carpathians ++ Forest conservationists have already referred to clear cuts in UNESCO buffer zones and national parks ++ Tactics of concealment by the state forestry company Romsilva prevented ++

A delegation of representatives of UNESCO and IUCN visited the paradise forests in the Romanian Carpathians. The reason was a so-called “reactive mission”, which serves to report on the conditions of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. At least at the meeting on 18.11.2019 in the Baile Herculane forest in Domogled – Valea Cernei national park, two activists of Agent Green were present. From the Romanian side, among others, the
head of Romsilva, Mihailescu, as well as numerous foresters and two delegates of the Ministry of Environment were present at the meetings.

The four main topics of discussion on Monday were the construction of the national road DN66A, the forest areas in the UNESCO World Heritage buffer zones as well as pasture management in these and planned hydropower plants in Romania.

EuroNatur and Agent Green were not invited for an excursion to the forests. Probably, so that Romsilva could only show intact forests to the representatives of the international institutions to underline their lies that in Romania’s forests everything is in order. To prevent this, however, EuroNatur and Agent Green had previously sent a letter to the delegation informing them with background information and information on nearby clear cuts, so that they could demand a visit to these areas as well. Thus, the representatives could also see the fatal reality in Romania’s forests. They visited, for example, the clear cuts in the Craiova valley and the Oplesata mountain peak, which border the UNESCO core zones. The delegates also visited the Arjana and Dobraia areas, where they could vitness the consequences of the recent forest fires in the Domogled national park. The days before, they had visited the area in Ciucevele Cernei, where in July 2019 EuroNatur and Agent Green protested together with Robin Wood against the construction of the national road DN66A. The construction of the road would cause massive destruction of valuable forests. The UNESCO and IUCN delegation also reiterated the need for a comprehensive environmental impact assessment of the impact on forests in these areas before construction continues.

In the discussion, Agent Green activists were able to highlight the numerous other deforestations in UNESCO World Heritage buffer zones as well as the lack of implementation of the IUCN criteria for at least 75% core zones in national parks. Already in July, Romania was criticised by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for the handling of its parts of the World Heritage sites. EuroNatur executive director Gabriel Schwaderer already expressed his concerns about the World Heritage Site at that time: “We have to fear that this extraordinary World Heritage site will soon be classified as ‘endangered’ – and this would include the German parts. The management of the Romanian areas has not improved in recent years, and now there’s a pressing need to take remedial action. The World Heritage Committee is already entering escalation level 1 by announcing to carry out a re-assessment of the World Heritage areas. We hope that this pressure will finally make the Romanian government rethink. Romania is hosting an ancient forest treasure that has long been lost almost everywhere else in Europe”.

All in all, the visit showed that both UNESCO and IUCN are keeping an eye on what is happening in Romania’s forests. Representatives of both institutions urge both a more comprehensive assessment of the impact of infrastructure projects on forests and a better management of this natural resource. They call on Romania to step up its protection efforts. A detailed report by the delegation, which will hopefully contain these points with clear statements, will follow shortly.

forest in Domogled national park © Matthias Schickhofer