Tag Archives: protest

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…

 

 

 

 

Activists urge EU Commission to save Romania’s Virgin Forests

EuroNatur and Agent Green: EU’s biggest nature crisis in Romania requires immediate action

A giant life-sized virgin forest tree being cut down has been etched into the pavement outside the EU Commission building in Brussels. Along with several banners calling on the EU to act now to protect Romania’s virgin forests, activists from EuroNatur Foundation and Romanian NGO Agent Green have brought the issue of the logging of Romania’s ancient forests to Brussels. Huge banners have been unravelled drawing a lot of attention to the ongoing destruction of the EU’s last large tracts of virgin forests in Romania.

“This is a wake-up call about the tragic environmental crisis that is destroying Romania’s virgin forests. Their loss through logging is one of the biggest nature emergencies in the EU today. Thousands of hectares of irreplaceable forests are being destroyed or degraded every year. Most of these precious forests are in Natura 2000 sites, where they are supposed to be protected. We call on the EU Commission to take action, now!“, Gabriel Paun, president of Agent Green, said

Romania hosts the largest remains of virgin forests within the EU, with estimates between 100,000 and 200,000 hectares. These unique forests are progressively falling victim to greed, corruption and negligence of nature conservation laws. Even in national parks and Natura 2000 sites, where deterioration of the natural habitats and species should be prohibited, logging of old growth and virgin forests is omnipresent.

“If the breach of EU legislation in Romania is allowed to continue without any sanctions, the whole Natura 2000 system is weakened. Thus the EU needs to stop looking the other way and start taking action! This is why we have come to Brussels today“, Gabriel Schwaderer, Executive Director of EuroNatur, said.

Romania will hold the EU-presidency in 2019, but authorities and the government do not show any ambition to implement national and EU environmental legislation properly.

Background information:
The creative and peaceful protest was part of a day of action in Brussels called “Spotlight on Vanishing Virgin Forests of Romania“. NGOs EuroNatur und Agent Green wanted to both inform the public and raise awareness with EU institutions about the logging in Romania, a drama that doesn’t get the attention it needs.

The day of action also includes these events:
– Expert conference “Europe‘s last virgin forests”, hosted by MEPs Thomas Waitz and Benedek Javor. European Parliament, Room number ASP5E1. Nov 8, 15 – 17pm. (Please note: participants need to register in advance at thomas.waitz-office@ep.europa.eu).
– Film screening “Out of Control”, a video series about scandalous logging in Romania’s national parks, with discussion. Kamilou in Mundo B (Rue d’Edimbourg, 26, 1050 Bruxelles), Nov 8, 19 – 21pm. Entry: free.

Contact information:
EuroNatur: Anja Arning, E-Mail: anja.arning(at)euronatur.org, Tel.: +49 (0)7732 – 92 72 13

Brussels / EU-Quarter / EU-Commission: Protest action by EuroNatur and Agent Green – EU must take action to save virgin forests of Romania. (c) Lode Saidane
(c) Lode Saidane

Brussels / EU-Quarter / EU-Commission: Protest action by EuroNatur and Agent Green – EU must take action to save virgin forests of Romania.

Protest action: Romania, stop logging national parks!

Protest action in wilderness of Domogled National Park exposes Europe’s biggest environmental crisis

On Saturday May 26th, 25 activists from different regions in Romania raised protest against the ongoing destruction of primeval forests in the middle of Domogled – Valea Cernei National Park. They presented hand banners and unfolded two large banners measuring 100 m2 each from the edge of steep cliffs with the message “Romania: Stop Logging National Parks” (in both English and Romanian languages). The aim of the action was to raise international attention on the widely unknown fact that primeval and old growth forests are being deliberately degraded and destroyed in Romania’s national parks. This is the biggest natural destruction crisis in Europe today.Romania hosts the biggest share of the EU’s primeval and natural forests remains.

The activists confronted managers of Romania’s state forestry enterprise, Romsilva, which manages 12 Romanian national parks, with an urgent call to immediately halt logging and to comply with international standards in Domogled and all the other national parks. Members of the Romanian and the European Parliament, Senator Mihai Gotiu and MEP Thomas Waitz, were witnesses of the action. MEP Thomas Waitz conducted a fact-finding mission in Domogled National Park at the end of last week at the invitation of environmental NGOs EuroNatur and Agent Green.

At least 382.000 m3 of wood have been commercially cut from national parks in the last year alone according to SUMAL, Romania’s central database for forests and logging. Domogled National Park is Romania’s largest national park and was the most affected by logging in the past 10 years. At least 123.000 tons of wood were logged in this park alone in the past year. Less than 50% of its forests have been included in the strictly protected nature zone. Commercially motivated logging, conducted by professional logging companies, is omnipresent. Although they are located in the very heart of the national park, over the past 15 years, large areas of untouched forests have been cut. Romsilva had approved the logging of numerous old stands. In spring 2017 logging in the last untouched valleys in Cernisoara forest department within the Domogled National Park was commenced.

“The Environmental Ministry still has no answer to people’s wish and scientists calls to preserve the highly valuable forest treasures inRomania’s national parks. Although these forests cover just 1% of the country’s surface, they mean the world to thousands of different, and mostly threatened, species and they are home to Europe’s last large primeval forests and brown bears, wolves and lynx. Political talks have failed, so we have to raise our voices here at the site of destruction, in the wounded forests, to alert both the public and European institutions”, said Gabriel Paun, founder of Agent Green.The forthcoming drama of destruction of Cernisoara primeval forest highlights the systemic malfunction of Romania’s national park management.The valleys of Cernisoaradepartment werethe last large valleysthat remained untouched till last year when 1367 hectares of primeval forests were eliminated from the UNESCO World Heritage nomination list, only to be left open to logging. Two plots of old forest in Cernisoara were degraded in 2017, two more are planned to be logged this summer.

“Ancient trees in the wild valleys behind these banners are already marked for logging. All Romanian National Parks are also designated as European Natura 2000 sites. Deterioration and degradation of natural stands is meant to be prohibited according to the EU’s NatureDirectives. Numerous biodiversity rich forests in Romania’s national parks are not protected at all, as the so called ‚buffer zones‘‚ do not differ at all from ordinary intensive forestry areas outside national parks. National parks are not there to enhance the economy of Romania’s state forest enterprise but rather to comply with international conservation standards and the Romanian national park law. Romania’s old growth forests do not need ‚sanitary logging‘, but sanitation for the conservation of natural forests. The natural forest drama in Romania by far exceeds the size of logging in Polands Bialowieza forest. We call on the EU Commission to take urgent action to prevent further violations of EU legislation”, said Matthias Schickhofer, senior advisor at international Foundation EuroNatur.

Currently, none of the 13 national parks meet the IUCN recommendations and Romania has no road map to achieve this. On the contrary, the surface of non-intervention zones was reduced significantly in a number of national parks.

[1] “This trend is terrifying. Not just Romania, but the whole EU is losing extremely valuable natural treasures. If in Europe, we all fail to stop this drama, most of our last paradise forests will be gone soon. And forever”, Paun concluded.

EuroNatur and Agent Green respectfully call on the Romanian Government to:

  1. Immediately place a moratorium on logging of potential old growth and primeval forests in all national parks, in particular on state property.
  2. Introduce IUCN compatible national park regimes and management plans by 2025, especially ensuring at least 75% non-intervention areas.
  3. Ensure sufficient funding for national parks from the State budget as well as independent and professional national park administrations.
  4. Restructure scientific councils of all national parks to be formed solely of independent expert scientists with a responsibility to ensure conservation of national parks.
  5. Ensure local communities in the national parks are adequately identified and private land owners compensated.

 

MEP Thomas Waitz and Gabriel Paun (President Agent Green) at the protest action in Cernisoara forest district, in upper Cerna valley. Only 50% of Donmogled National Park are protected, the rest is treated like an area outside the park. In 2017 state forestry Romsilva approved logging in wild valleys in Cernisoara district with highly valuable old growth forest.