Forest Act amendments would legalise exploitation of Romanian forests



Posted on 07 November 2012  | 
Bucharest, Romania – WWF Romania and a coalition of environmental NGOs have expressed their concern that proposed changes to Romania’s Forest Act would create a legal framework for the exploitation of the country’s forests, driven by purely economic considerations and ignoring the principles of sustainable management.

WWF Romania along with a coalition of environmental NGOs have repeatedly offered their expertise to support the creation of a modern, European legislation, to regulate forest management in Romania. In May 2012, Prime Minister Mr. Victor Ponta, announced at a WWF press-conference that NGO proposals will be taken into consideration. However, throughout this process the Romanian Parliament acted in a non-transparent fashion, at times even blocking NGO access to certain information.

The new Forest Act would violate the principles of sustainable forest management, which Romania has endorsed so far. It would allow for the exploitation of as much wood in nine, five or even less years than was previously possible over a ten year period.

Although forests in Romania occupy less than one third of the country (27.3% and below the EU average of 36%), the proposed amendments would create the possibility of removal of forested areas from the framework of control, leaving forests exposed to abuse.

The lack of measures for biodiversity conservation of forest ecosystems in the proposed amendments is another cause for concern.

“A country concerned for the wellbeing of its citizens sees in its natural resources a long term benefit and not the immediate source of income. Forests are not only a source of wood with economic potential, but offer many other benefits, vital to citizens of any country. These benefits and their value are completely ignored in the proposed amendments, undermining the development prospects of Romania”, said Costel Bucur, Head of Forestry and Protected Areas of the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme
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