Greenpeace Romania launched on October 2019, in a press conference hosted by Cărturești Verona, the Illegal Logging Report for 2018, an analysis based on official data on illegal logging cases identified by the authorities. It’s the 10th year in which Greenpeace drafts this report, based on Romanian Law 544/2001 regarding the free access to public interest information, assuming a responsibility which is not covered by the Ministry for Waters and Forests (or the Ministry of the Environment, in different legislatures).
The main conclusions presented by Ciprian Gălușcă, Greenpeace campaigner for forests and biodiversity, are more than alarming:
- The control authorities trace only 1% of the total illegal logging happening in Romania: about 200.000 m3 of the 20 million cubic meters of timber that disappear yearly from the Romanian forests.
- For the time frame 2008–2012, the official estimates were indicating 8,8 million m3 illegally exploited (see Emergency Ordinance no. 32/2015 regarding the establishment of the Forest Guards, based on statistic data from the first cycle of the National Forests Inventory (IFN). The second IFN cycle, spanning from 2013 to 2018, is showing that 20 million m3 are disappearing without documents from the Romanian forests.
- The most efficient control authorities in fighting the illegal logging phenomenon in according to the confiscated are as follows:
1. The Police: 55.393 m3
2. The Forest Guards: 30.415 m3
3. The Gendarmerie: 1.824 m3
- Because of the relaxation of the Contraventions Law in mid 2017, the number of vehicles used to transport illegal logged timber has fallen by 74%, while the confiscated timber volume has risen.
- A consequence of the fact that SUMAL (The Automatic System for Timber Traceability) was left without satellite images, plus the fact that the Forest Inspector app is working on the brink of breakdown, as well as the lack of transparency from the authorities, the number of emergency calls from citizens to notify possible illegal logging or transports has fallen by 52%. Even so, the efficiency of these emergency calls is still standing: 1 in 5 calls help the authorities in identifying forest offences. The citizens’ credibility in the process of notifying possible illegal logging is very high, as is their efficiency: The Forest Guards has received last year over 846 notifications regarding forest offences, out of which a third (312) have been confirmed on the field.
The report can be downloaded here: Greenpeace Illegal Logging Report 2018. The afferent annexes are here: Illegal Logging Report Annexes.
[photos by Carla Donciu]
Forests and Biodiversity Campaigner
Press and Comms Officer for Forests and Biodiversity