Minister of the Environment, Waters and Forestry Gratiela Gavrilescu said Thursday at Deva that in just one year, nearly 8.8 million cubic metres of forests were cut, a reason for the commissioning on September 1 of a Forestry Guard.
The Forestry Guard officers will have to guard forests against illegal felling, given that the damage incurred by the illegal forest operations is standing at RON 1.5 billion.
“There are 8.8 million cubic metres of forest felled in a year in Romania. This is a problem of national interest, an issue of national security. That is why we have taken all actions for illegal cuts to be halted,” said Gavrilescu, according to Agerpres.
She mentioned that following the implementation of the Forestry Radar, the transport of illegally cut wood declined nearly 30 per cent, according to the findings of an assessment four months after the implementation of the concept.
As far as the Forestry Guard is concerned, Gavrilescu said it is the outcome of a transformation of the former local technical forestry inspectorates, with the new organisation slated to become operational immediately as its staff chart will be approved by the National Public Servants Agency.
Gavrilescu said that will happen around September 1, adding that the size of the Forestry Guard staff has increased from 345, as employed by the former local technical forestry inspectorates, to 545 and the new officers will be highly vigilant.
“The Forestry Guard officers will be highly vigilant because the selection criteria will be very tough. They also have to pass an integrity test. I have warned them that since they are paid the same as the staff of the National Financial Oversight Agency (ANAF) and the public demands from the new organisation are very high, they will have to do their job in the service of the citizens and defend these highly important assets [the forests],” Gavrilescu concluded.