Forest pillage augments

The disaster of Romanian forests in the last twenty years has now come to an unprecedented acme in Europe: three hectares of forest are robbed by logging every hour of the day and night. In keeping with the irrational logging, climate changes confuse Romania as well as neighbouring geographic regions every year. The frequency of droughts or floods, massive landslides and destruction of whole localities including all communication ways, collapsing protection embankments and bridges and further ravage have pushed Romania into a painful ecological and economic disequilibrium. All such drama and tragedy comes from the ‘drought’ of thought and conduct of Romanian authorities. The disaster that threatens Romanian forests has become a concern even to the European Union, who is a beneficiary, from a climate point of view, of the Carpathian forests. Romanian Police forces therefore have decided to make a U-turn and join the international concern about the robbing of Romanian forests.

They join such concern just formally, of course. On the one hand, they comply with EU requests and develop a New Forest Code designed to protect the stock of forests of the country and, on the other hand, after prolonged meaningless debates on its new provisions, they ‘hesitate’ to enforce it. In the meantime, the politicised temptation of undermining the positive conclusions that had been drawn under EU pressure emerges. Not long ago, a group pf 38 MPs drafted a bill under which a good share of the current forested area of the country would have been extracted from the forest stock and give them to the closest localities. Why? To give them the possibility of logging, even if partially, such areas and open so-called guest houses with sports fields, hotels, restaurants etc. The claimed objective of this flam would be the massive development of tourism. In reality, it would just give permission to clear-log forests after ‘legally’ removing them from the authority of the forestry regime. Under the pressure of the public, outraged by such an action of virulent perfidiousness, the bill was eventually abandoned. At least for now. Because we know from experience that ill intentions usually rips and tears in the depth for a while after which it resurfaces. The subsequent debate on the same new Forest Code on the specialised Parliament Committees has produced further surprises. The same MPs who had initially agreed to the provisions of the new Forest Code that were focussed on improving the protection of forests have changed their opinion. They have added a ‘nuance’ to their initial position by suggesting that, in the immediate vicinity of the forests, meaning still on the forestry fund, the same ‘guest houses’ should be developed. New masques, same play! But the new masques are being worn by the same old tragic-comical actors. The organised crime of abusive logging and exporting wood at much lower prices than those that could be obtained after local processing has found support even in the Romanian Parliament. Why? Because some of our MPs have a direct interest, as beneficiaries, in the decentralisation, privatisation and sacrificing of Romanian forests. The exploitation of which – abusive, illegal, in the form of excessive exports of raw, unprocessed timber – brings major benefits to importing states. Including Hungary, who turns such massive imports of very cheap wood into exports of very expensive furniture. An important area of the traditional Romanian forests, exploited and sold in this way, have stopped being truly Romanian. In the general climate of antinational and antisocial libertinage of the last two decades, Romanian forest have become non one’s property, just good to be robbed. While at an international level an area equal to Romania’s is deforested every year, the scale of destruction in Romania is higher. In the eight decade of last century, forests would cover 24.6 per cent of the area of Romania. The value is now under 20 per cent. In the same period, the forest quota was 0.30 hectares per capita in Romania, double compared to Germany and ten times higher than in England. Today, after the forest robbing, Romania is drawing near Europe in the most unfortunate manner: exactly in the area where Europe now regrets having made huge ecological, climatologic and economic errors of judgement over time. How could this priceless Romanian asset be robbed in this way? The most important blow was inflicted by the absurd legislation passed in the early 1990s on the restitution of forests to former owners before 1948, when expropriations took place. The restitution of forests, nationalised in 1948, was achieved by often invoking the rule of law. But the rule of law principle would have required that the nationalised 2 M hectares of land, after restitution, should remain under the strict authority of the forestry regime, to be capitalised on under better conditions, from two points of view: an economic point of view, for the benefit of the owners, and an ecological point of view, for the befit of the nation.  Removed by corruption from the authority of the forestry regime, the immense majority of those 2 M hectares of forests are now being robbed. Romanian politicians, many of who have acquired huge fortunes at the expense of their involvement with illegal forest exploitation, keep diverting our attention from this national pillage. They are ‘reassuring’ the public with the explanation that the cutting of forests is a world phenomenon these days, but forget to note that this international cataclysm is also caused by the fact that the big powers fail to fully deliver on their environmental commitments. On the other hand, they ‘buy’ the commitment of smaller and less developed states to keep a low pace of industrialization which bounces back as an overstress on their silvicultural potential. An overstress that takes the appearance of robbery in this country.

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