Old-growth forest of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania saved from clear-cutting

Old-growth forest Cosava Mica

Saved for nature: the "Cosava Mica" forest.

© Agent Green

30 experts from 12 countries call for a ban on cutting Europe’s primeval beech forests


Press release, 10 December 2015

Radolfzell. Contrasting reports of excessive nature exploitation in Romania, there are good news just before Christmas: In the south-west of the country a pristine forest the size of 1,000 football fields has been saved for the next ten years. The ‘Cosava Mica’ forest in the Semenic Mountains is one of the last remaining old-growth beech forests which were once widespread over Europe.

This woodland has developed virtually untouched by humans since the last ice age. However, Cosava Mica was not covered by any conservation status. Supported by international nature conservation foundation EuroNatur, the Romanian NGO Agent Green intensively campaigned for Cosava Mica and now reached a stage victory. The new management plan for this area strictly prohibits timber extraction for the next ten years.

“Old-growth beech forests are an outstanding part of our European natural heritage. It is our duty to preserve the last remnants both for future generations and as habitats for bears, wolves and lynxes. Areas such as Cosava Mica must never fall victim to the short-term monetary interests of the timber industry. As an urgent next step, Cosava Mica has to be protected by declaring it a national park”, says Gabriel Schwaderer, CEO of EuroNatur.

From 15 to 19 of November 2015, 30 renowned experts from 12 European countries, including Germany, Austria, Ukraine, Italy, and Romania, gathered on the Isle of Vilm and agreed on a resolution on European Beech Forests. The resolution calls on governments to effectively protect old-growth European beech forest ecosystems. In particular, the Beech Forest Network calls for a logging moratorium in these areas. Due to intensive exploitation, primeval beech forests like Cosava Mica nowadays are a scarcity.

Europe’s last large-scale primeval beech forests grow in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine, Slovakia, and Romania. But right here, illegal logging is escalating to devastating dimensions. Week after week thousands of trees are illegally cut in the Romanian Carpathians. The timber industry does not even spare national parks. Internationally operating companies from Western Europe are involved and according to research by Agent Green they use wood from national parks and other protected areas on a big scale. So far authorities are passively watching these illegal activities.

Background information:

  • Beech forest have been especially characterizing for European landscapes. The European beech is growing from lowland and montane areas of western and central Europe up to the tree limit area in southern and south-eastern Europe.
  • The transnational serial UNESCO World Heritage property “Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Ancient Beech Forests of Germany” comprises 15 component parts in Germany, Slovakia and Ukraine amounting to 33,761 hectares.

For further information:
EuroNatur, Konstanzer Str. 22, D-78315 Radolfzell, Tel.: +49/7732 - 92 72 10, Fax: +49/7732 - 92 72 22, press contact: Katharina Grund, katharina.grund(at)euronatur.org

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