EuroNatur calls on the new government to amend laws, declare a moratorium on logging in primary forests and tighten the reins on forest authorities
Press release from 9. Dezember 2016
Radolfzell / Bukarest. Romania harbours the largest old-growth forests in Europe, but they vanish at breath-taking speed. A conservation programme, the “National Register of Primeval Forests” is destined to save the remaining old-growth forests. However, the recently published interim report is more than disappointing: Currently, the register only includes about 13,000 hectares, which is less than six percent of the potentially existing old-growth forests in the country. According to the experience made by experts and nature conservation NGOs, the reasons are obvious: “Forest authorities keep withholding essential documents such as forest maps and management plans, thereby impeding the preparation of the studies that are prerequisite for nominations for the register of primeval forests”, explains Gabriel Schwaderer, CEO of nature conservation foundation EuroNatur.
In September 2016, EuroNatur partner organization Agent Green submitted studies on primeval forests covering an area of 1,929 hectares in the provinces of Bacau, Buzau, Vrancea and Covasna to be included in the “National Register of Primeval Forests”. However, responsible forest inspectors did not react in any way. “This is unacceptable, because laws oblige authorities to confirm the studies within 45 days,” says Gabriel Schwaderer. Therefore, all these paradise forests remain under imminent threat by logging. In the coming winter, they could fall victim to chainsaws. A ‘forest protection regulation’ passed in July 2016 only aggravated the situation, as no studies can be submitted and areas examined between September and March.
While the July regulation by the interim Romanian government, whose mandate will end with the parliamentary elections on 11 December 2016, had finally created a legal basis for the protection of primeval forests, it has major flaws: The regulation is complicated and still allows logging, even in strictly protected virgin forest reserves, for example ‘conservation’ cuttings after windfalls. “In a country like Romania, where corruption is pervasive, this opens the door to continued destruction of old-growth forests,” says Gabriel Schwaderer.
EuroNatur therefore calls on the future government of Romania to urgently come up with a comprehensive logging moratorium for all the potential primeval forest sites in Romania until they have been scientifically examined. “We also urge the incoming government of Romania to immediately and thoroughly repair the legal basis for the protection of virgin forests in Romania. A law that allows logging of old-growth forests through the back door is unacceptable,” Gabriel Schwaderer concludes.