Protecting Romania’s virgin forests

Romania still boasts large areas of virgin forests. These untapped woodlands are abounding in local species of trees of various kinds. Some of these century-old trees often turn into timber and subsequently integrate in nature’s life circuit. Nobody is hunting in these forests; no one is picking forest fruit or other plants here. Romania also has forests that have seen very little human intervention and they have regenerated quickly. Until recently, 80% of Romania’s forests were untapped territories, but now only two thirds of these forests are virgin or quasi-virgin. Even so, Romania boasts the largest surface of virgin forests in Europe. Some of these forests are located in the Nerei Gorges, while Sinaia in southern Romania, is famous for its fir-tree and beech forests.

Well-preserved forests of beech, fir-tree, spruce and other species can be found in Bukovina, Slatioara, the Zarand Mountains and Cozia. Some of these forests have been nominated for the UNESCO heritage list. Here is Valentin Salageanu, a Greenpeace campaign coordinator: “A national survey conducted in 2005 showed that Romania had at the time around 218 thousand hectares of virgin forest, and the survey wasn’t even complete. In the decade that followed almost half of these forests were most likely destroyed. The saddest thing is that most of these forests were destroyed legally, given the fact that until 2012 there were no legal provisions for their protection. So a big part of these ecosystems were destroyed. However, a series of criteria and indicators were introduced in 2012 for these forests to be identified, but the protection measures were insufficient. So, forest destruction continued after 2012 in spite of their legal recognition. And here we are, in 2017, when the most optimist estimates made by environmental organisations, Greenpeace included, are speaking about 120 thousand hectares. So, half of these forests have been destroyed.”

Read full article in Radio Romania International.

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