Ministerial commitment for WWF’s campaign to save Romania’s virgin forests
The Minister met with WWF representative in response to the letter sent to him as part of the campaign, calling for "urgent measures to be taken for the effective protection of virgin forests in Romania through ensuring the necessary legal framework and provision of compensatory payments to private forest owners".
"I congratulate WWF for recognizing the importance of virgin forests that still exist in Romania”, Mr. Laszlo Borbely said. “As Minister of Environment and Forests, I can promise WWF all the support they need. This initiative sounds an alarm, which is the first step to saving these unique European forests. We have the opportunity to create the necessary legal framework. Furthermore, I will soon visit the virgin forest areas with WWF to analyze the situation on the ground", Mr. Laszlo Borbely said.
250,000 hectares of virgin forests in Romania are awaiting protection according to the “Save the virgin forests!” campaign launched by WWF on 24 October. The campaign is seeking protection for over 80% of Romania’s virgin forests, which are currently left unprotected.
More than 33,000 people signed the petition within the first week of the campaign.
"We launched this campaign to show that the voices of people and their support can bring about a happy end”, said Magor Csibi, Country Manager of the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme in Romania. “So far over 33,000 Romanians have supported our efforts to save the last virgin forests in Europe. Our talks in the ministry are encouraging, but we must collect at least 100,000 signatures to ensure that this campaign will achieve the full protection of all virgin forests in Romania", said Magor Csibi.
Virgin or old growth forests are untouched by humans, the last places where nature survives in its pure state. They are wonderful complex systems where seedlings, young, mature and old trees are interspersed by very large, old live, imposing trees. Dead trees and decaying logs are just as important as the living trees, building up together an environment that is home for many different flora and fauna. Romania’s virgin forests are home to up to 13,000 species.
Virgin forests have survived because of their inaccessibility and the low economic value of the wood coming from the old trees. However, today virgin forests are more vulnerable than ever because of socio-economic pressures in Romania. These include the ever increasing demand for wood and the challenges of managing small patches of forests in a business way.
Over the past few decades, virgin forests have disappeared in the developed countries. Romania’s virgin forests represent up to 65% of the virgin forests still remaining in Europe, outside of Russia. They are an important part of Europe’s natural patrimony and were lost mostly due to bad management. Their scientific, educational, and ecological value is undisputed.