Tag Archives: protest

Spectacular climbing action shines spotlight on need to protect primary forests in the Romanian Carpathians

Protest against destruction of UNESCO World Heritage Site by road construction and logging in Romania

The environmental organisations ROBIN WOOD, AgentGreen and EuroNatur are protesting against the destruction of Romania’s irreplaceable natural and primary forests. This past weekend, climbing activists made a spectacular show for the protection of the forests in the Domogled Valea Cernei National Park in the Romanian Southern Carpathians: They were holding a 50-meter-long banner with the words “SAVE ROMANIAN PRIMARY FORESTS!” On Saturday, the banner fluttered over a pass, on Sunday over a 200 meter wide valley. The activists thus marked the threatened component part “Ciucevele Cernei” of the UNESCO World Heritage site for the protection of ancient and primeval beech forests in Europe, which is under UNESCO protection for all humankind.

The protest is directed against the planned expansion of the National Road 66a in the middle of the Domogled – Valea Cernei National Park, which is also under the protection of the EU as a Natura 2000 site. The Romanian government is planning to upgrade the existing non-asphalted forest road to a two-lane highway. Of the 19 kilometres of the planned construction section, one kilometre runs through the core zone of the UNESCO protected area. This would jeopardise the status of the entire transnational European World Heritage Site for the protection of old beech forests. The conservationists call on the Romanian government to permanently protect these natural and primary forests, which are important for the entire EU, and to give up all plans for the expansion of National Road 66a.

Romania hosts the largest intact natural and primary forest areas in the EU outside of Scandinavia. However, the logging in these species-rich and structurally rich forests is progressing rapidly: in 2004 there were at least 218,500 hectares of untouched forests in Romania. Recent satellite image evaluations commissioned by the EuroNatur Foundation show that only half of them are still intact.

After previous plans for the expansion of the National Road 66a were stopped in 2010 through very public environmental protests, the situation has now rapidly worsened. On 25 July 2019, the tender for road construction was closed and the Romanian Minister of Transport Răzvan Cuc announced the start of construction within a month.

“The forest destruction and the expansion of the National Road 66a endanger the entire transnational UNESCO World Heritage site and destroy unique natural landscapes. Romania is thus acting against all humanity. We urge Prime Minister Viorica Dӑncilӑ to ensure that this destruction effort is stopped immediately, “says Gabriel Paun, founder and CEO of the Romanian environmental organization AgentGreen. The German nature conservation organization EuroNatur and Agent Green are fighting with the campaign “SaveParadiseForests” for the preservation of Romania’s primary forests.

“In times of mass extinction and climate crises, the destruction of Romanian forests is madness and has enormous consequences far beyond national borders,” says Jana Ballenthien, forest advisor to ROBIN WOOD. “We demand complete protection of Romania’s natural forests. The EU is also obliged to consistently enforce European nature conservation law!“

“Just recently Romania has received a rebuke from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee because it has failed to adequately protect its natural beech forests. Now a gravel road is planned to be cut into a national road and right through a World Heritage core area. This is not only an affront to UNESCO, it will also increase the pressure on Romanian forests, “explains Gabriel Schwaderer, Managing Director of the EuroNatur Foundation.

Background information:

The Domogled Valea Cernei National Park is with 612 square kilometers the largest national park in Romania and accommodates large primeval and natural forest areas. The entire national park is also designated as a EU Natura 2000 area. The EU Habitats and Birds Directives prohibit deterioration for EU-wide protected habitat types and species.

The transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe” preserves 92,023 hectares of endemic European beech forest in 12 states. Of which 23,981 hectares are located in Romania. UNESCO World Heritage Sites represent the highest level of protected areas in the world and are under the protection for all humanity. Romania was recently reprimanded in July 2019 at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku for logging of natural forests in the buffer zones of the Romanian UNESCO component parts. The destruction of the natural beech forest and the planned road construction in Romanian UNESCO buffer and core zones endanger the status of the entire transnational World Heritage site: if these violations continue, the entire world heritage area is in danger of being abandoned. This would also affect the component parts in other countries such as Germany and Austria – eg. Serrahn in the German Müritz National Park or the Kalkalpen National Park in Upper Austria.

 

Protest pentru păduri UNESCO from AGENT GREEN on Vimeo.

Spectacular banner action over UNESCO protected “Cuicevele Cernei” reserve in Romania’s Domogled Valea Cernei National Park. The old road 66a is planned to be enlarged by removing parts of the protected ecosystems of “red rock” – with explosives. (c) Agent Green
Climbing protest action in Romanian Cera valley  to protect old growth and primary forests in Domogled Valea Cernei National Park from expansion of national raoad 66a – and from logging. Parts of the National Park are included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe”, the road expansion would also severely damage the UNESCO site. (c) Minerva Vinze / Agent Green
Banner protest against planned expansion of national road 66a and against progessing logging in Romania’s Domogled national park. Parts of the National Park are included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe” – the road would also damage the UNESCO site. (c) Minerva Vinze / Agent Green
The UNESCO Wold Heritage Site “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and other Regions of Europe” aim to protect these endemic ecosystems. The old reserve “Cuicevele Cernei” in Domogled National Park is part of this transnational World Heritage site. However, Romania wants to dig a new road through these wild beech forests… (c) Matthias Schickhofer
Old, narrow road 66a in Domogled Valea Cernei National Park: dimensions of a forest road, no major disturbance of animal migration routes – leave it as it is… (c) Matthias Schickhofer
First section of the new road 66a in Jiu valley, built 10 years ago: destruction of  ecosystems in the valley, major barrier for wildlife. (c) Matthias Schickhofer
New section of road 66a in Jiu valley (image taken in 2010), at the edge of Retezat National Park. Domogled National Park and the UNESCO site must not be damaged as well. (c) Matthias Schickhofer
EU (Natura 2000) protected natural “ravine forest” in upper Cerna valley in Domogled National Park. The contruction of the new road 66a would severely damage this wild forest landscape. (c) Matthias Schickhofer

Romanias forests supported by more than 200 places!

So far, we have collected more than 200 photos from various locations in more than 30 countries as an international symbol for the preservation of the ancient forests of Romania!

Especially in the current fight against the climate and ecosystem crisis, the preservation of our forests is extremely important. In Romania, there are still large areas of old growth forests, many parts of which are real virgin forests. These forests are not only habitat for many species, but also large CO2 storages and play an important role in climate protection.

We designed two stickers from our campaign to protect these wild forests and asked people from around the world to send us photos with these stickers. So together we can set a sign that the primeval and old-growth forests of Romania must be preserved. We have already received more than 200 photos from over 30 countries from all over the world: For example from Australia, Thailand, Montenegro, Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, the USA, Canada, Iceland and Greenland.  These Show very diverse places such as urban areas, well-known sights , nature, landscapes or street art.

Many thanks to all who have already sent us photos. We continue to collect photos, please send them to: act4romanianforests@euronatur.org

Here are some examples of the photos as well as videos:

 

USA – San Fransisco
SENEGAL – Bambey
THAILAND – Ao Nang
BRAZIL – Copacabana
USA – New York
UK – Edinbourgh
RWANDA – Muhanga
RWANDA – Muhanga
PORTUGAL- Porto
PORTUGAL – Lisbon
PORTUGAL – Coimbra
PORTUGAL – Lisbon
PORTUGAL – Coimbra
NEPAL – Mount Everest

   

MONTENEGRO – Ulcinj
MONTENEGRO – Podgorica
LATVIA – Riga
LATVIA – Riga

       

ITALY – Milano
ITALY – Florence

       

ITALY – Florence
ITALY – Bergamont
ITALY – Bergamont
GREENLAND – Nuuk
GREECE – Naxos
 
GREECE – Athens
 
FRANCE – Paris
LITHUANIA – Vilnius
GERMANY – Radolfzell
GERMANY – Stuttgart
FRANCE – Paris
SWITZERLAND – Rheinfälle
UK – Edinbourgh
TURKEY – Istanbul

 

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…