Forests and forest management
To protect the Danube-Carpathian region's outstanding forests and their resources, WWF focuses on:
Promoting sustainable forest management
- WWF has been the major force for promoting FSC certification for timber producers and, increasingly, also wood processors and purchasers in Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. Thanks to these efforts, the Romanian State Forestry Company has achieved FSC certification for 1 million ha of Romanian forests; the Bulgarian State Forest Company has made a similar commitment as well. WWF has also been working with small private forest owners and managers, assisting them e.g. to achieve group certification for their forests.
- At the same time, we have been working with forest managers to identify additional income streams, e.g. from non-timber resources such as mushrooms or berries, tourism development as well as compensation payments, that can enhance the economic argument for sustainable and environmentally friendly forest management.
- A major part of our work focuses on promoting effective protection for the most valuable forest habitats in the framework of national, EU and international protection regimes (see Protected Areas). In Romania, for example, we identified and proposed sites for forest habitats as part of the EU’s Natura 2000 network of specially protected sites, while in Slovakia we have been supporting efforts of local NGOs to stop logging in core zones of national parks.
- Outside of formally protected areas, our efforts focus on identifying and promoting High Conservation Value Forests – forest areas that are of especial importance not only for nature conservation or for example for watershed protection, but also for cultural or religious reasons, and that therefore require special forest management. We have developed national toolkits for identifying High Conservation Value Forests in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine and we are now pushing forward with identification, while at the same time working with forestry companies and managers to take into account HCVF in their management practices.
- Illegal logging is a major problem throughout much of our region, with more than a quarter of wood in some countries harvested illegally. Unfortunately, the problem is also especially complex and difficult to address, with no magic bullets.
- In Romania in particular, WWF has been working with relevant authorities and key commercial players to address the problem.