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January 19, 2022

700,000 hectares need urgent foresting to help prevent floods, pollution

Over upcoming years, Romania has to plant approximately 700,000 hectares that can no longer be used in agriculture out of the more than three million hectares affected, specialists show, pointing to a surface basically standing for one third of Romania’s arable land. ‘The only solution for environment protection and fixing land loss is to plant approximately 700,000 hectares of forest, which will hold the mission of protecting soil against floods and other phenomena and of retaining carbon dioxide, which represents the main source of pollution,’ Marian Ianculescu, secretary general of the Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, said for Agerpres.

Ianculescu explained the massive deforestation phenomenon that occurred after 1990 in Romania is one of the reasons behind landslides, desertification and even aggravation of meteorological phenomena. ‘Forests were cut down and the land was left barren, no re-foresting was done. As an effect of retrocessions, around 70,000 to 80,000 hectares have been deforested, while illegal logging has led to forest shrinkings on several hundreds of thousands hectares,’ Ianculescu, former MP and head of the Forestry Department within the Ministry of Waters, explained. He stressed that 27 per cent of Romania’s total surface is covered by forests but that figure should reach 40 per cent in order to avoid floods, landslides and higher pollution levels.

Ianculescu also commented on a new economical trend involving companies which get to buy entire forests and then sell them as timber to local furniture companies. ‘Any company can buy land these days, but they have to respect a forestry commitment that indicates how much, what and when to log. One cannot cut the forest out of some whims, that is nothing else but sheer crime,’ he said.

Environment Minister Laszlo Borbely recently said his Ministry will invest more than EUR 50 M in forestations in 2010, in contrast to an insignificant sum which was actually used in 2009. Stopping decline of forested surfaces and expanding them to 30 per cent of Romania’s surface in the next three years is one of the among the governing programme’s priorities for 2009-2012. The programme implies forestation procedures for pieces of land that are improper for agriculture, as well as the creation of protective forest belts on five per cent of the agricultural surfaces located in areas vulnerable to drought and desertification. Likewise, the program also provisions the fight against deforestation and illegal logging by perfecting legal support in this domain.

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