Largest Hungarian intact forest saved from logging
Home to ancient beech and oak tress, Csarna-valley in the Duna-Ipoly National Park north of Budapest, is a strictly protected area, covering over one thousand hectares of intact forests. It is home to many endangered and rare species, such as the Eurasian lynx, Black stork and Imperial eagle. Intact forests are areas mostly untouched by humans and important for safeguarding biodiversity, as only sufficiently large areas can conserve populations of large animals in their natural state.
A state owned forest company had planned to carry out logging in the heart of the forest against the will of the Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate, which is in charge of the protected area.
„Csarna-valley was about to suffer because of general management problems and the lack of zonation typical of all national parks in Hungary”, said Alexa Antal, Communications Officer at WWF Hungary. „We had to act, we had no choice. In three short months we reached over 7 million people with our message to save this intact forest, home of the lynx, and pushed decision-makers to make a favourable decision.”
180 environmental organizations supported WWF’s petition to stop logging in Csarna-valley. 5000 individuals signed WWF’s petition within four days.
„We also reached another important goal. We raised awareness of the need to establish zoning in all Hungarian national parks. Zoning makes certain areas no-go areas and allows sustainable management in other areas. With zoning in place, you would never be allowed to cut down trees that are part of an age-old, intact forest”, Antal said.
There are 2 million hectares of forests in Hungary, half of them natural. Large carnivores became virtually extinct in Hungary at the beginning of the 20th century. Now about 10 lynx and a dozen of wolves live in the Hungarian part of the Carpathians.