Romania is home to Europe’s richest forests in terms of biodiversity. But every day they’re being diminished – by illegal logging.
“This is happening in a lot of places in Romania that have been wiped off the face of the Earth,” says Gabriel Păun, President of the Agent Green NGO. “Whole mountains are empty, naked. Places where erosion has begun and nature can’t heal itself. In Făgăraș, in Maramureș, in the National Park of Domogled. It’s a disaster.”
A court in Cluj ruled a prison sentence of 17 years and four months for the man who killed a forest ranger in the region of Maramures in 2019. The ruling is final, according to Digi24. The violent death of forest ranger Liviu Pop happened in October 2019 when he responded to a call signalling an illegal logging activity in the forest he was supervising. He caught the defendant, whose name was not made public, stealing wood from a forest. The man attacked ranger Pop, took his rifle and killed him.
Environmental groups say Romania has failed to tackle illegal logging and nature destruction in areas protected by European Union law, two years after Brussels warned the country to put an end to illicit deforestation.
A new report authored by nongovernmental groups Agent Green, EuroNatur, and ClientEarth, obtained by The Associated Press before its official release, alleges that widespread destruction in Natura 2000 sites — areas of special value that are meant to be protected by EU law — has in some areas intensified since the EU Commission issued warnings in February 2020.
Two journalists and an environmental activist have been beaten up by suspected illegal loggers in a forest in northeastern Romania while making a documentary about illicit deforestation, authorities said Friday.
Thursday’s attack in Suceava County involved 11 people who are being interrogated, a police spokesman said. The victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and their equipment was destroyed.
Logging season in Romania runs seven months, from mid-September through April, a frenzy of chain saws chewing through millions of spruce, pine, oak, maple, beech, fir. Some of the wood is cut legally; most of it is not, and violence between the logging industry and its opponents breaks out often. Early this season, two Bucharest-based documentary filmmakers, working on a project about the illicit wood trade, set out to find a large, treacherous-looking clear-cut in Suceava, a northern county where some of the country’s largest sawmills are based and where Ikea owns thousands of hectares.