Some of the political decision makers are so naïve they claim having countless achievements under their belt, including discovering… the wheel. So much so that truths that have been known for quite some time are only acknowledged now, and not as such, but also raising a claim for personal research “abilities”. A derisory claim unless so costly, yet, not for the decision makers, but those governed by them. This sad truth is quite burdening given the catastrophic prospect of floods following the blizzard and heavy snow of the past couple of weeks. It is only now that the decision makers realise the damage caused nationwide by the blizzard and the abundant snow that left scores of localities stranded, and several roads and railways impracticable, save for some spotty areas in Dobrogea, where forests buffered the effects of the cold snap.Therefore, it is the protective role such forests play that guarantees a normal climate and, implicitly, rich crops.
This fact has been known by rural communities for nearly a century and allowed Romania to acquire in the past the reputation of “Europe’s granary”, a title that the politicians of the past couple decades made sure would remain a thing of the past, considering Romania’s importing now more foodstuff than it produces actually, a deplorable situation which marks a sad first in the history of this country. The social-economic and political decline is increasingly emphatic. Within a single year, Romania’s forested area decreased by nearly 7 pc, a trend quite opposite to what happens elsewhere. This is happening exactly at a time when international forums conclude that increasing forested areas is one of the most important lines of defence against global warming. Yet, policy makers in this country would not believe such “rumours”. The massive deforestations led politicians to come up with the theory that it is the “corrupt state” that is to blame for it, and therefore decided to put 40 pc of Romania’s forests into private hands in the belief that private ownership is the main defence factor for forestry assets, and the only one able to preserve and develop them.A sinister mistake that is, since the current debacle of the Romanian forest assets is made worse exactly by forest privatizations, as the more than 2 M hectares of forest gone private so far should have remained under strict state authority instead, which would have made sure that forests are cultivated and capitalized upon both economically, to the advantage of the new owners, but also ecologically, to the benefit of this whole nation. Given this did not happen, those 2 M hectares have been destroyed through plundering instead, depriving the country of some substantial revenues. Instead, over EUR 5 bln would be needed to reverse the effects of those savage deforestations and all the operations needed for brushes to reach maturity.The main reason for such damaging consequences was none other than the greed of those reckless enough to destroy forests for personal gain at any cost. This in turned led to a forestry disaster that is growing worse under the complacent eyes of government officials, which pretend not to see the reality of unprocessed wood making the bulk Romanian low-priced wood exports, which helped Hungary’s furniture sector get out of crisis.Even the new Forest Code is favouring forest exploitation over cultivation, as only a paltry 1 pc of all the case files related to forest destructions have been settled in court. Some law provisions only define as a crime the cutting of trees amounting to more than 5 cubic meters of wood. This means only modest fines are issued for those stealing 1 cubic meter at a time. And their payment too could be put off indefinitely. Such inexpensive fines look like an invitation to steal more than anything else, considering the high price for which the wood could be sold on the market. This makes the destruction of Romanian forests a very good business for the so-called “strategic investors” from abroad.