The Romanian Forestry Code will be revised including penalties for illegal deforestation

Illegal logging, which poses a serious threat to forests, has become a major concern in Romania. Over the last few years, an impressive number of trees have been cut down illegally. Unfortunately, those in charge of forestry protection are often condoning these illegal activities. Authorities have recently announced that penalties for illegal deforestation will be toughened under the new Forestry Code. Balkans.com says us more :

The measure has been taken against the background of illegal logging having become uncontrollable, with extensive areas being completely deforested in several counties. Experts say it is difficult to tell just how much of the forest area has been destroyed and have pointed out that much of the flooding affecting Romania was triggered by massive deforestation.

Relevant minister Lucia Varga has said that the new bill the authorities are working on observes 4 main guidelines: the exploitation of forests within reasonable standards, harsher penalties for illegal logging, economic measures aimed at discouraging wood export and encouraging wood processing in Romania. A notable change however will be the new task assigned to forestry administrations.

Lucia Varga: “Forestry administrations will auction the wood processing service. Logs will be taken to forest roads, graded, tagged with a registration and serial number and then traded by the administrator. It is also the administrator’s job to draw up the waybill.”

Under the new Forestry Code, the transport of wood on public roads at nighttime will be forbidden and any illegal logging severely punished. The current forestry law stipulates that wood theft is a crime only if the damage is at least five times bigger than the average price of a cubic meter of wood. Authorities however, quite optimistic about the effects of the new Forestry Code, believe that the new measures will decrease illegal logging by 60 to 70%. According to official records, Romania’s forest area covers 6.5 million hectares, accounting for 30% of the country’s total area. Half of it is administered by the state while the other half is in private hands. In 2012, alone, some 3000 criminal files were drawn up for forest-related crimes, of which only 25 were sent to court and 14 resulted in fines.

Full article here.

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