The Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests failed to protect 600,000 hectares of private forests, while Romania is the only country in the world that does not enforce a sustainable forest management, Forest Defence Federation (FAP) chairman Marin Stoicescu told Agerpres on Wednesday, as some 1,000 foresters were protesting in front of the government offices in Bucharest.
“Although it was informed by the FAP, in memorandums and petitions, about the disastrous situation of forests in the private sector, the ministry (…) did not take any step to protect private unguarded forests. Presently, there are 600,000 hectares of such forests not managed and not guarded, because the central public authority in charge of forestry failed to observe the relevant law and did not subsidize owners to manage and guard the forests. Although asked to, this authority did not make any effort to identify the groups of interests who organized and led illegal exploitation on 400,000 hectares of private forests, thus prejudicing the country, the owners and all Romanians by 36 billion euros, besides a serious image prejudice to Romania. Romania is the only country in the world that does not use a sustainable forest management,” Stoicescu claimed.
Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests Cristiana Pasca Palmer asserted in a TV broadcast at end-March that Romania has one of Europe’s finest forest management systems. “Legislation is also good. We are harvesting some 2.8 cubic metres [of wood] per hectare per year, which is a lot less than practiced in other countries. We could harvest more, but the law does not allow it. The illegal lumbering phenomenon is real, and we have to take steps. The ‘forests radar’ works, and we have this SUMAL system for lumber traceability, which we are trying to strengthen this year in very concrete ways. Over the first three quarters of the last years, we got 25,000 emergency calls, and 25 percent of cases later proved the lumber transports were illegal,” she said.
The FAP is a non-governmental organization comprising members of the Romanian Academy, of the Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Science, and several specialized associations, forest owner organizations, foresters’ unions and forestry pensioners.