Early this week Romanian Minister of Waters and Forests, Adriana Petcu, received a weighty petition from EuroNatur partner organisation Agent Green: thousands of Romanians call on the government to grant compensation payments to private and municipal owners for not cutting down their old-growth forests.
While the Romanian forestry law in principle bans wood harvest in primeval forests, trees keep being felled on private and municipal areas. Compensation payments to support private and municipal forest owners would be a clear signal by the government to finally make the protection of old-growth forests a priority.
Funds for compensation payments to owners of old-growth forests already exist, but a working system to distribute the money has been lacking so far. The EU Commission recently officially authorized the Romanian government to use EU subsidies amounting to more than 15 million Euros for this purpose. This would have a tremendous impact: Taking a compensation sum of not more than 100 Euro per hectare of old-growth forest, about 150,000 hectares of paradise forests might be saved from the chainsaws. “Now the new Minister of Waters and Forests is required to implement a well organised system for compensation payments that is governed by precise rules. The existing funds have to be used now to save Europe’s last primeval forests from destruction”, says EuroNatur CEO Gabriel Schwaderer.