More rigorous protection needed for Europe’s virgin forests

On 4 and 5 February, the EU’s future forest policy was discussed at the EU International Conference on Forests for Biodiversity and Climate in Brussels. In his opening speech, Frans Timmermans, Commissioner for the European Green Deal, spoke emphatically about the work which needs to be done - but these words must now be followed by actions. Outside, forest conservationists protested against logging in Europe’s last remaining virgin forests.

Large EuroNatur protest banner for the protection of forests

With a huge protest banner...

© ROBIN WOOD

...and simulating the felling of a tree, the activists from RobinWood drew attention to the conservation drama currently taking place in the Carpathians.

© ROBIN WOOD

In front of the headquarters of the European Commission and with the help of a 50-metre-long banner, our partners from RobinWood staged a demonstration against the deforestation of Romania’s virgin forests. Together with our partner organisation Agent Green, we are calling for a change to European forest policy as well as more rigorous protection for our continent’s last primary and natural forests. Romania in particular has many natural forests, the exploitation of which is never-ending, even in protected areas.

Speaking at the start of the conference, Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, was resolute: “We must fight the deforestation of primary forests - this is not a problem which can be solved through reforestation.” In order to protect the climate and preserve biodiversity, EuroNatur believes it is now crucial that strict measures are put in place to protect the last primeval and natural forests across Europe, especially in Romania. Commercial forests in Europe should be managed as sensitively as possible and existing single-species forests transformed into natural mixed forests.

The dramatic environmental impact caused by the exploitation of forests for raw materials is now particularly evident. In the past 15 years, Romania has irretrievably lost around 100,000 hectares of its primary and natural forests. Even in Natura 2000 areas, which are protected under EU law, logging is taking place on a large scale. For many plant and animal species this is nothing short of a catastrophe.   

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