Romania: New forestry code aims to prevent forest plunder

According to Balkans.com, a new forestry code to be passed in Romania aims to prevent forest plunder and closely monitor the sale of lumber :

[…] Almost 400,000 hectares of forest have been destroyed in Romania since 1989, the loss amounting to over 5 billion euros. Bad management and in some cases uncontrolled deforestation have led to the destruction of forests.

What’s worrying is that cutting goes on at a rate that is twice as high as that of natural forestation and forestation done by specialist staff. In this respect, the new code aims to increase the accountability of the Romsilva staff, the national company responsible for the management of state owned forests, as well as private owners, for a more sustainable management of forests. The new code thus provides for harsher penalties for lumber and wood theft, including time in prison for the persons who are caught stealing from the forest. Forest rangers aiding such persons will lose their forestry permits and jobs. Incentive programmes will also be created for forest owners not to destroy the woods.

The minister delegate for water and forests, Lucia Varga, explains: “Forestry authorities are worried they will have to allot additional funds from their budgets, but they will get some of this money back from the sale of forestry certificates. This will provide them with sufficient funds to ensure the security of forests and purchase the necessary equipment. As far as private owners are concerned, they will receive incentives not to cut their forests amounting up to 200 dollars per hectare.”

Wood will not be sold at the site, in the forest, but from designated sites and only after being measured and cut.

The director general of the National Forestry Utility, Adam Craciunescu: “Under the new regulations, the documents stating the provenance of the wood will be issued by the forest administrator instead of just any private company issuing their own shipment documents. Forest rangers and the forestry administrators will thus have full responsibility under the new forestry code for the provenance of the wood sold on the market. We are currently working on a software program to make sure that every piece of wood is introduced in the system so that it can be tracked at any given time.”

Forest owners and forestry workers say this will make their activity more difficult as there are not enough storage facilities, especially in the mountains, and specialist staff, and are worried that their costs will increase. There is also a risk that big companies will monopolise the market. The political parties in opposition believe that while the state may impose such strict rules for state-owned forests, this should not be the case with privately owned forests. The government, however, wishes to introduce a modern management policy to put an end to the forest plunder going on at the moment.

Read full article at Balkans.com.

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