Romania, which has the largest area of virgin forests in the EU, is also the country most affected by illegal logging in Europe, a major environmental advocacy group said Monday.
The country has the most important forests in Europe “in terms of biodiversity, in terms of size, in terms of forest intact landscapes,” said Alexander von Bismarck, director of the US branch of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
But the country also “has the most acute problem of illegal logging today in Europe”, he warned.
Romania’s woodlands are home to more large mammals than all other European states combined, excluding Russia, according to the EIA. The animals that roam its forests include brown bear, lynx and wolves.
According to Romanian authorities, some 80 million cubic metres (2.8 billion cubic feet) of wood was illegally logged in the country over the past 20 years, resulting in a loss of five billion euros ($5.4 billion).
EIA accuses the Austrian wood products company Holzindustrie Schweighofer which dominates the forestry sector in Romania of “willingly and knowingly accepting illegally harvested timber”.
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