EU-Commission urged to protect Europe's last natural forests from illegal logging

Forest wilderness in the Romanian Carpathians

In the Romanian Carpathians there is still a forest wilderness that has not been known in large parts of Central Europe since the Middle Ages.

© Matthias Schickhofer/EuroNatur

Of the centuries old beech trees, only the stumps remain after the logging.

© Matthias Schickhofer/EuroNatur

Radolfzell, Bucharest, Brussels. Environmental organisations EuroNatur, Agent Green and ClientEarth have advanced their fight against illegal logging of old-growth and primeval forests in Romania by filing a complaint against the country’s authorities to the European Commission. Their joint goal is to stop the ongoing deliberate destruction of natural woodlands making up two-thirds of  unspoilt forests within the European Union (outside Scandinavia).

The organisations claim that Romania’s state forestry management, Romsilva, is conducting logging operations within protected Natura 2000 areas without proper analysis of the impact on these unique sites. In some cases the relevant environmental impact assessments, which should be performed beforehand when logging is being planned, take place years after logging gets underway.

ClientEarth wildlife lawyer Ewelina Tylec-Bakalarz said: “Systematic logging in Natura2000 sites without effective assessment of its impact on those areas is a clear violation of EU law. This is a widespread problem across Romania, which is why we are now bringing this case to the European Commission.”

Romsilva manages 22 of Romania’s 29 national and natural parks. All these areas are part of the EU Natura 2000 network and fall under the provisions of both the Habitats and the Birds directives. However, legal experts say the state forestry often fails to comply with the EU legal requirements for the protection of such areas.

Gabriel Schwaderer, Executive Director of EuroNatur said: “If the breach of EU legislation in Romania is allowed to continue without any consequences, the whole Natura 2000 system is weakened. The ongoing nature conservation drama in Romania is one of the most pressing environmental crises in Europe, yet it is still largely unrecognised.”

Tylec-Bakalarz added: “The case of Poland’s Bialowieza Forest proves how effective European law can be in protection of our continent’s natural treasures. We hope that in the case of Romania’s forests the European Commission will also take action before damage of these unique ecosystems becomes irreversible.”

 

Background information:
The campaign “SaveParadiseForests“ aims at protecting the most valuable old-growth forests of the Carpathians, particularly Romania. It is jointly coordinated and carried out by the NGOs EuroNatur (Germany) and Agent Green (Romania).
A media briefing to the complaint you can find here.

 

Press contacts:
EuroNatur: Anja Arning, anja.arning(at)euronatur.org, Tel.: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 13
Agent Green: Gabriel Paun, gabriel.paun(at)agentgreen.org
ClientEarth: Bianca Vergnaud, bvergnaud(at)clientearth.org, Tel: +32 (0)2 808 34 72

 

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