Illegal Logging Threatens Old Growth Forests In Central And Eastern Europe | WWF

Illegal Logging Threatens Old Growth Forests In Central And Eastern Europe

Posted on
08 August 2018
Vienna - WWF-Austria filed a complaint to the Federal Office for Forests (BfW) in Vienna as Austrian companies fail to implement the EU’s Timber Regulation (EUTR). Recent reports of environmental organizations EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency) and Earthsight demonstrate several Austrian timber companies violated their commitments to stop sourcing wood from national parks in Romania. The research also revealed that up to 44% of Ukrainian timber exports to the EU may be illegal, and that a top Ukrainian official demanded illegal payments from foreign companies to supply them with cheap timber from local forests.

“WWF has been working for years to find technical solutions for removing illegally harvested wood from the supply chains in the Carpathians and other regions in Central and Eastern Europe”, said Ionut Sorin Banciu, Regional Forest Lead of WWF-Danube-Carpathian Programme. One technique used is promoting the transparency of wood harvesting and transportation in Romania, Ukraine and Bulgaria.

In Romania, WWF has supported authorities to develop SUMAL, a best-practice system for tracing wood supply that includes a central database and a hotline people can call to report or verify the legality of wood shipments. National authorities recently accepted WWF proposals for updating and strengthening SUMAL in Romania.

In Romania, WWF has also built and maintained a dedicated on-line platform  where all risks of illegal logging have been identified and mitigation measures have been proposed as solutions to be used by interested stakeholders or companies in their due diligence systems.

In Ukraine, WWF and partners have established the Forest Watch programme, which relies on satellite imaging, drones, citizen volunteers and close cooperation with relevant authorities to monitor and identify illegal logging.

WWF is supporting FSC Risk Assessments in Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia as best available sources of information related to identifying  risks of illegal logging in these countries. It has also proposed mitigation measures which can be used by companies to address these risks.

To support implementation of EU Timber Regulation in several Central and Eastern European countries, WWF has organized trainings, developed subsequent legislation for implementing legislation and elaborated guidelines to operators and traders. As a best practice example, WWF and competent Romanian authorities have developed together the first version of a risk map of illegal logging in the country.

In Bulgaria, anyone may use the information on the WWF website to detect and report illegal logging in the country. Recently, WWF published an analysis of illegal logging in Bulgaria and proposed steps to address the issue.
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