Massive water leaks from the slopes, following the torrential rains of recent days, have also been favored by deforestation in those areas, says Environment Minister Tanczos Barna. Romania loses, every hour, over 3 hectares of forest, warningsspecialized NGOs. The big problemThis is represented by massive, legal or illegal deforestation. And all this is because there is no legislation to limit the disappearance of “green gold” and because wood thieves often act with protection at the level of authorities, as demonstrated by journalists who have documented investigations over time. .
Forests, two years ago, accounted for 38% of the European Union’s land area, and in five countries, more than half of the territory was covered by forests. On the other hand, Romania, Malta, the Netherlands and Ireland are among the countries with the smallest forested area in the EU.
Mihaela Brazdeș, Digi24 journalist: The latest data are from 2019, and they are not at all gratifying, because we see that every hour in Romania more than three hectares of forest are cut down. How are we doing from this point of view and what are you doing to stop, slow down this phenomenon?
Tanczos Barna, Minister of the Environment: I should counter 90% of your claims. In some locations, especially in hilly and mountainous areas, they can be caused by historical deforestation. I can say without exaggeration that those times, with the massive deforestation where forests disappeared from the slopes, where hundreds of hectares were cut illegally, are over. There are no more such cuts in the country.
Since last year, I have also asked NGOs to show me from 2021 or 2022 a case of massive, illegal logging of tens or hundreds of hectares. Such acts are no longer committed, because the measures taken by the Parliament – the tougher legislation, the increased penalties, the incrimination of these cuts and the introduction of SUMAL 2, together stopped a phenomenon that characterized Romania 5 or 10 years ago.
Indeed, there are still illegal logging, but they are in areas where they are legally exploited, and from where thieves are still trying to supplement the cut quantities and transport them on public roads. Many of these facts are caught, there are over 20 thousand checks carried out by the investigative bodies – police and forest guard, annually, and the contraventions have been practically doubled, the criminal sanctions have also been doubled.
“It simply came to our notice then. Only the cut area is taken into account and the planted area and the annual growth are not taken into account. “
Mihaela Brazdeș: Can we make a comparison with what happened in 2019, when 3 hectares of forest disappeared every hour, and what is the situation now?
Tanczos Barna: It is an aberrant analysis, because where it is cut to the ground, it is planted. In Romania, if this figure were true, all the forests would have to disappear, not to have any hectare of forest in the country.
This is a bad analysis. Only the cut area is taken into account and the planted area and the annual growth are not taken into account.
I can say without exaggeration that the planted area is at least equal to the cut area. The wood mass that grows in Romania’s forests is higher than the exploited one, and the small percentage compared to the other EU member states, in terms of forest land, is caused by the counties where there are no forests.
If we look at the map of Romania, in the last 100 years the forest in the south of the country has disappeared. In these counties, 80-90 percent of the forests have been cut down, in the southern area the desertification has increased precisely because the agricultural activity has intensified, and there we have counties with 5, with 10 percent forest area. That is why, in PNRR, we proposed the establishment of 57,000 hectares of forests to be mainly installed in these counties, in order to compensate for the historical cuts in these regions.
In the area of the Carpathians, Transylvania, the forest areas are over 40%. There are counties where the forested area reaches 50% or is even larger.
The whole discussion, in the video.
Editor: Liviu Cojan
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