Forests and forest management

The Danube-Carpathian region contains many of Europe’s most valuable forest habitats and resources, including the largest remaining area of natural forests.
If well managed, these forests can provide a sustainable income for people of the region and at the same time deliver a myriad of benefits and services, from climate regulation to tourism. Unfortunately, short-term exploitation, through illegal logging or simply poor management, is taking its toll.

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.
Protecting the most valuable forest habitats
  • 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.
Fighting illegal logging
  • 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.
Contact: Marius Turtica, WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme
 / ©: Andreas Beckmann, 2006
Young tree growing from deadwood in the Romanian Carpathians.
© Andreas Beckmann, 2006
 / ©: Andreas Beckmann, 2006
Forests -- close up of tree and branch
© Andreas Beckmann, 2006
  •  / ©: Juraj Vysoky
    Deadwood lives! -- a third of forest-dwelling species rely on dead or dying trees, logs, and branches for their survival.
  •  / ©: 1996 FSC
    WWF has been leading efforts to promote FSC responsible forestry certification in the Danube-Carpathian region

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