EuroNatur: Forest destruction in Romanian national parks has to stop

Devastated forest soil in a logging area of old growth forest in the heart of Domogled National Park/Romania

© Matthias Schickhofer

Precious part of the European nature heritage: Old growth mountain beech forest in Domogled National Park

© Matthias Schickhofer

Forest destruction unabatedly continues in Domogled National Park – immediate moratorium on logging of state-owned primeval forests needed


Press release, 1 June 2016

Radolfzell / Cerna Valley. In spite of affirmations by the government to the contrary, and despite primeval forests are protected by law since 2008, destruction of old-growth forests continues unabatedly in Romania. A trip to the Domogled-Valea Cernei National Park in the southwest of Romania revealed shocking forest destruction: EuroNatur partner and nature photographer Matthias Schickhofer reports on very recent logging of old-growth beech forests in the centre of the national park, logging roads in creek beds, and forest soils completely devastated by wood harvesting machines.

The international nature conservation foundation EuroNatur urgently calls on the Romanian government to effectively halt destruction of primeval forests. “It’s totally unacceptable that Romania’s primeval forests fall victim to the chainsaws particularly in national parks and Natura 2000 sites. Putting an end to logging of state-owned old-growth forests within these protected areas is an action the Romanian government could impose immediately”, Gabriel Schwaderer, CEO of EuroNatur, points out.

As the one EU Member State where more old-growth forests survived to date than anywhere else, Romania still harbours 60% of the remaining primeval forests of Europe (excl. Russia). But this unique natural treasure is dwindling away: Over the past ten years, vast areas of these more than 6000-year-old forest ecosystems have been destroyed. Many of these primeval forests have been cut down illegally or as a result of fraudulent land restitution (by falsification of documents).

As recently as 17 May 2016 EuroNatur raised critique that logging even takes place in the buffer zone of the Şinca virgin forest which had been nominated a World Natural Heritage Site by the Romanian government. In 2009 there was still a vast contiguous old-growth forest, which is now being more and more fragmented. The neighbouring valley faces logging in age-old forests, too – despite being declared a Natura 2000 site (Făgăraş Mountains) and despite being mapped as a primeval forest in the country’s forest inventory already more than 10 years ago.
The renowned “Academia Română“ also recently called on president Klaus Johannis and prime minister Dacian Cioloş to reduce logging across the country and to completely stop it in national parks.

However, the old-growth forests of Şinca and Domogled–Valea Cernei are not the only ones affected by logging. Most of the other protected areas in Romania face breaches of both Romanian laws and the EU Habitats Directive, too. The latter rules out any deterioration of the conservation status of natural habitats in Natura 2000 sites.

EuroNatur Foundation calls on the interim government and on the Romanian parliament to set the right course prior to the start of the campaigns for the national elections scheduled for November 2016. In addition to stopping all logging activities in old-growth forests in protected areas and on state-owned land, independent control is urgently needed and the mapping of old-growth forests has to be completed as soon as possible. Gabriel Schwaderer: “The national register of primeval forests, which is currently under progress, has to be free of rotten compromises and tricks. Europe lost nearly all of its primeval forests. Therefore we now have to fight for every single area and will follow developments very closely.”

For further information:
EuroNatur, Konstanzer Straße 22, 78315 Radolfzell, Tel.: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 10, Fax: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 22, katharina.grund(at), Press contact: Katharina Grund, Contact person: Gabriel Schwaderer

How you can help


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.

Sustaining membership

EuroNatur focuses on long-term nature conservation projects instead of quick fixes. With your regular donations, you give us the planning security we need.


Skavica mega dam: Albanian court to scrutinise special law for U.S. contractor Bechtel

++ Constitutional complaint filed by NGOs accepted for trial ++ First milestone in fight against one of Europe’s largest reservoirs ++ Thousands of…

Growing opposition to Albanian airport

++ Bern Convention calls on Albania to stop airport construction near Narta Lagoon ++ Project in Vjosa Delta endangers thousands of migratory birds ++…

EU Commission targets the wolf

Ursula von der Leyen warns of allegedly "dangerous wolves" - nature conservation organisations criticise misleading statements and dubious data…

Romanian forests: EuroNatur calls for a logging moratorium

+++ Open letter to Commissioner Sinkevičius calls for a logging moratorium in protected areas to end destruction of Romanian forests +++ Fourth…

Controversial airport construction in Albanian protected area casts shadow as far as Munich

++ Operating company Munich Airport International (MAI) is linked to illegal Vlora airport ++ Construction to take place in protected area of special…

Swimming for the monk seal

The Croatian free water swimmer Dina Levačić has been swimming in potential monk seal territories. Her campaign is aimed at drawing attention to the…

Wolf Offspring confirmed in the Black Forest

++ Photo trap image from the community of Schluchsee provides evidence of offspring ++ First wolf pack in over 150 years in Baden-Württemberg ++

Stork Village meeting in Tykocin, Poland

It was an anniversary celebrated in style: For the 20th annual meeting, representatives of the European Stork Villages met for the first time in the…

A slight sigh of relief for the Dalmatian pelicans

The Dalmatian pelicans at Lake Skadar are breeding successfully. This is all the more gratifying because last year's breeding season was disastrous.