Treasures under threat

Illegal construction of ski run in Vitosha Nature Park, close to Bulgaria's capital Sofia rel=
Illegal construction of ski run in Vitosha Nature Park, close to Bulgaria's capital Sofia

The Green Heart of Europe is in danger

Unsustainable resource use and poorly planned infrastructure cause the loss and fragmentation of forests, wetlands and wilderness
The treasures of the Green Heart of Europe are threatened by:

• Illegal and unsustainable logging of virgin and other High Conservation Value Forests.

• Construction of roads, ski areas and other infrastructure, some of it illegal and much of it poorly planned.

• “Wild” construction of hundreds of large and small hydro- and wind-power stations, many with limited benefits in terms of clean energy but massive impacts for streams, rivers and wildlife.

• Unsustainable agricultural practices.

Half way there

We already have many of the tools needed to save the Green Heart of Europe, including:

• Strong legislation, from the EU Water Framework Directive to the EU Timber Regulation.

• Regional protection frameworks, including the Carpathian and Danube Protection Conventions.

• Government commitments to protect virgin forests, save Danube sturgeons, and more.

• International agreements, including the Lower Danube Green Corridor and Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve.

• Economic incentives included in EU regional development policies and the EU Danube Strategy, and growing importance of certification schemes like FSC as well as payments for ecosystem services (PES).

• A strong network of partners stretching from the public to the private and non-profit sectors.

We now need to bring these together and ensure that they are both fully implemented and actively used.

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