Murders in Romania's virgin forests shock public opinion

EuroNatur and Agent Green: Romania must intensify fight against mafia and corruption in forestry sector

<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

With huge harvesting machines the wood is taken from the Romanian forests. The structures behind them are often mafia style.

© Matthias Schickhofer/EuroNatur

Forest crimes and violence against authorities and conservationists are on the rise in Romania. The latest incidents of two forest rangers being killed by thugs within just four weeks draw a shocking picture of eroding law enforcement within the Romanian forest sector: Illegal logging and criminal practices including mafia style threats against authorities and NGO conservationists are a major problem. Therefore, EuroNatur and the NGO Agent Green urge the incoming new government in Romania to massively step up the fight against illegal logging and corruption as a top priority.

Even official sources give evidence of wide spread criminal practices in the Romanian forest sector: According to leaked information from the still not fully published second National Forest Inventory, more than half of the 38 million cubic meters annual wood harvest in Romania are not based upon approved management plans. This large scale of unapproved logging implies that illegal practices combined with corruption are omnipresent in the whole country and on all levels of sector, from forest workers via police to high levels officials in Bucharest.

„We want to express our deep condolences with the families of Raducu Gorcioaia and Liviu Pop. These tragic cases are only the tip of a huge iceberg of corruption, greedy logging, mafia style threats and crimes within the Romanian forestry sector. Europe needs to draw more attention on the destruction of temperate Europe’s biggest natural forest treasure in Romania. This is Europe’s equivalent to the Amazon forest. Romania must become serious with its fight against mafia networks and corruption, in particular in the forestry sector,“ Gabriel Schwaderer, executive director of EuroNatur said.

„The spate of killings and attacks is outrageous. We are particularly angry and concerned about the apparent impunity of the killers. This things keep happening. We haven’t seen much effort from the Romanian authorities neither to stop illegal logging nor to protect forest defenders. State forest workers, journalists and NGOs all feel threatened. We call on the incoming new government to immediately ensure that the ‚Forest Inspector’ app is fully operational again and to pursue a concerted national police operation to tackle the forest mafia before Europe’s last great primary and old growth temperate forests are gone for ever,“ Gabriel Paun, president of the NGO Agent Green declared.

Gabriel Paun has been attacked himself several times by criminals in Romanian forests. Finally one case is going to court soon. „It took prosecutors four years and a half to prosecute the attackers. The attack was taped, there was video footage, there was plenty of proof, they knew the attackers. But these guys were always free, and I always feared for my life over these past years that they will find me and finish what they started,“ Gabriel Paun said.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims. They lost their lifes while working for our environment and protecting Romania´s forests. We deeply hope that foresters and rangers in Romania - and anywhere else - will be able to work without such threats as they contribute to the conservation of our natural heritage.

How you can help

Donation

Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.

Newsletter

Twice a month, EuroNatur provides you with the latest campaign and project information about Europe's natural heritage free of charge and at first hand.

News

Pesticide-free zone for sustainable agriculture

++ EuroNatur 2020 award goes to Mals in South Tyrol ++ Opponents of pesticides repeatedly face legal action ++ Award ceremony with a difference this...

BREAKING NEWS: Albanian PM Rama reacts – Kalivaç will not be built

In a reaction to the statement of Albanian President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced to the media today that he also is in favor of...

Alliance against Kalivaç dam on the Vjosa is growing

++ Vjosa Research Centre in Tepelena inaugurated ++ Scientists refute Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on Kalivaç hydropower plant ++ Albanian...

Deadline expired: Protect rivers consistently now

Conservation organizations are demanding a moratorium on the construction of small hydro power plants from the government of the Federation of Bosnia...

Poor breeding season for storks

++ Only a few storks have fledged in Europe’s stork villages ++ Extremes of weather cause problems for the storks ++ Conservation of green wetlands...

At long last: The EU bans lead shot in wetland areas

Good news for Europe’s water birds: hunting in wetlands with toxic lead shot is to be banned. So, every year in the EU about 1.5 million water birds...

Results for winning photos of EuroNatur’s photo competition

Around 3400 pictures of European nature were submitted to the judges this year – and the twelve winning photos are really something to look at.

Activists in Serbia get hands-on in fight against hydropower

In the Stara Planina region, residents from the village of Rakita have joined forces with conservationists to damage the pipes of a hydropower plant...

A first for Croatia: a person appears in court accused of poisoning wild animals

At the beginning of the year there were several cases of wild and domestic animals being poisoned in Croatia. Now a 52-year old has appeared in court,...

Commune of Mals fights for agriculture without pesticides

++ South Tyrolean commune has been campaigning for a pesticide ban for six years ++ Insecticides, herbicides, etc. are putting the living conditions...

Fishes in Mediterranean region endangered due to hydropower boom

++ New study confirms: hydropower plants have a devastating impact on fish populations in rivers around the Mediterranean ++ Numerous species are...

Failure of lead ammunition ban caused by Julia Klöckner's ministry

The Europe-wide ban on hunting with lead ammunition failed to gain approval last week – due to opposition from the Federal Ministry of Food and...

Tackle illegal logging or face court, Commission warns Romanian Government

The European Commission has demanded today that Romanian authorities take immediate action to stop illegal logging of old-growth and primary forests...

More than 122,000 people are demanding the protection of the Romanian virgin forests

++ A petition with more than 122,000 signatures has been handed to two State Secretaries of Romania’s environment minister ++ Demand for comprehensive...

Success for nature conservation: construction freeze for hydropower projects

++ Parliament imposes historic decision for rivers in Bosnia & Herzegovina ++

By using our services, you agree that we use cookies. Data protection