The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) published evidence of illegal logging in Romania’s second largest national park, linked to Holzindustrie Schweighofer, an Austrian timber giant. Romania’s national parks encompass some of the last remaining wilderness areas in Europe, but they are under severe threat due to destructive commercial and illegal logging. Foreign market demand for timber, combined with a lack of significant traceability in Romanian timber supply chains, and the continuing failure of major timber buyers like Schweighofer to clean up their sourcing practices are leading to the decimation of Europe’s last great forests.
Holzindustrie Schweighofer (Schweighofer), Romania’s largest consumer of softwood logs, has been in the international spotlight for years for its extensive sourcing of illegally cut Romanian timber. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) stripped Schweighofer of its FSC certification in early 2017 following a detailed internal investigation. The timber giant has promoted its supposed reforms in recent years, but EIA’s new investigation shows that the company’s core sourcing practices have changed little. Schweighofer remains a key driver of illegal and destructive logging practices in Europe’s most fragile habitats, EIA says.
Romania’s Rodna Mountains National Park contains the highest peaks in the Eastern Carpathian mountains, and is home to bears, wolves, lynx and the endangered chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra). The majority of the park’s forests lie in private hands, having been restituted to local town councils over a decade ago. Commercial logging is permitted in more than half of the national park, though Romanian law mandates strict controls over the conduct of such logging.
In Lala Valley in the east of the park, EIA found numerous examples of illegal logging. EIA identified a commonly used log loading site using the Romanian government’s Forest Inspector website, inspectorulpadurii.ro, which shows real-time registrations of transportation permits across the country. At this loading site, EIA filmed piles of spruce logs of various dimensions stacked ready for pickup, and fresh tractor paths leading into the nearby forest…
Read the full story on the EIA-website.