Forestry Act amendments that are currently being pushed through the Romanian Parliament do not take into account basic principles of sustainable forest management and condemn Romania’s forests, WWF has warned.
“We support the intent to amend the Forest Act, but the proposed changes are a huge step in the wrong direction”, said Costel Bucur, Head of Forestry and Protected Areas of the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme. “If approved, these changes will create a legal framework for the complete degradation of Romanian forests”.
“WWF in Romania and a coalition of environmental NGOs have repeatedly offered their expertise to support the creation of a modern, European legislation, to regulate forest management in our country. As a response, the authorities have banned NGOs from the debate and our proposals are not included in the final draft”, Bucur said.
The proposed amendments seriously violate the principles of sustainable forest management, giving a green light for exploiting Romania’s natural resources as a solution to the growing demand for timber.
“The new Forest Act 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 is another cause for concern, according to WWF.
“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”, Bucur said.
For more information, take a look at the WWF website.