Our primary forest project

Saving Romania’s primary forests

The deforestation of primary and natural forests in the Romanian Carpathians is progressing at an almost unstoppable pace. As a result, this unique European natural heritage is in danger of disappearing. The forests, which have grown over centuries, are host to a wide variety of rare animal and plant species. These forests also store large amounts of carbon. As such, they also make a significant contribution to climate protection.

Yet even in national parks and other protected areas, timber is being felled illegally and on a large scale. In order to put an end to this ruthless exploitation, EuroNatur and Romanian nature conservation organisation Agent Green launched the SaveParadiseForests campaign in 2016.

Petition for the protection of the Paradise Forests

In 2019 a joint complaint by EuroNatur and our partners Agent Green and ClientEarth to the European Commission against the Romanian authorities did lead to the start of an infringement procedure. However, in the past four years, little has changed for the better in the Carpathians and the Commission appears to have lapsed into apathy on this issue.

Despite many talks with the responsible EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius and several declarations on his part that he will exert further pressure on the Romanian authorities, nothing has happened neither in Brussels nor in Bucharest. For this reason, we were petitioning through WeMove. More than 100,000 people have signed the petition to protect the Carpathian primeval forests in Romania. This is fantastic and a strong signal that EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius cannot really ignore.

We are planning to hand over the list of signatures to Sinkevičius in March and put the felling of primeval forests on the agenda in Brussels. It is still not too late for MEPs to do something sustainable for Romania's paradise forests during this legislative period.

The beauty and the beast in the Carpathians

What EuroNatur and its partners are doing to protect primary forests and what we have been able to achieve together:

  • Identifying primary and natural forest areas: Forests of outstanding importance for biodiversity and climate protection have been identified in the Romanian Carpathians. The PRIMOFARO study commissioned by EuroNatur is, for the first time, providing precise figures on the number of hectares of potential primary and natural forest which still exists in Romania. At over half a million hectares, it is a huge natural treasure. However, the study also shows the enormous scale of the deforestation and destruction of these valuable forests.
  • Placing forest areas under protection: We have worked to ensure that the Romanian government expands its national forest inventory. In its last revision, 14,000 hectares had been added compared with the previous year’s data. This included the pristine Boia Mica Valley, one of the wildest spots in Europe. Despite this success, the increase to the forest inventory was still far too small.
  • Arguing in court: With our help, our Romanian partners have been able to initiate and pursue a number of legal actions against illegal logging and have already won some of them. For example, we have already succeeded in getting some logging permits withdrawn and have thus been able to save a large number of forest areas from deforestation. In November 2020, the Court of Appeal in Bucharest granted us the right to access management plans for state owned and private forests. We had often been denied this, in violation of the EU directive on public access to environmental information.

When I touched the bark of an illegally felled beech in the Făgăraș Mountains, tears came to my eyes. It was 300 years old.

Portrait Annette Spangenberg Annette Spangenberg, Head of Conservation at EuroNatur

Our primary forest project – Saving Romania’s primary forests

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Join in and help us!

Join the many people getting actively involved to save Europe’s primary forests in the Carpathians. We are grateful for any donation or active contribution you can make! In doing so, you are supporting an independent and networked civil society in Europe, which is campaigning vigorously to protect our last paradise forests. Please help us any way you can!

Romania – Agent Green Report on “Ten methods of theft and reasons for updating SUMAL”, October 2022

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Investigation of Romanian forests in Natura 2000 sites

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Strictly Protecting Forests in the European Union - October 2023

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