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It’s not about forests, it’s about money.

Published 12th October 2009 - 5 comments - 3151 views -

Illegal tree cutting, forest degradation and deforestation have had a major impact on the Romanian environment, leading to climate change, biodiversity changes, threats towards human and animal habitats, and the disappearance of rare plant species.

 

photo source: Remus Cernea

A little bit of history

  • 1st century AD: 80% of the Romanian territory was covered by forests.
  • X - XVIII centuries: Deforestations make space for agriculture, 40% of our country's surface (about 4.6 million ha) remains covered by forest.
  • 1829 - 1859: Romania still has about 1 million ha of forest. After the Peace of Adrianople, Romanian principalities gain the right to foreign trade. Agriculture becomes more important, so deforestation makes room to grow wheat for export. 
  • 1948 - 1989: The communist party reduces forrests to half (about 550,000 ha left) so they can feed the monster factories that turn wood into exportable goods.
  • 1990 - 2000: Over 130,000 hectares of forest are cleared and wood is mostly exported.
  • Although data for the 2000-2008 timeframe is not available anywhere (or if it is, I couldn't find it) the pace of illegal deforestations increases. 
  • In 2008 only, more than 5,000 forest related crimes (over 30,000 cubic meters of trees were confiscated) happen throughout the country.

According to the National Sustainable Development Strategy, 27% of the land surface is now under forest cover (circa 6.43 million hectares), of which 3% (circa 200 thousand ha) is listed as primary forest and the rest of 97% as secondary forest or sparsely wooded areas. The percentage of forested land in Romania is well below the other European countries having similar climate conditions (Slovenia 57%, Austria 47%, Bosnia 53%, Slovakia 41%) and about half of the ideal proportion for Romania (40-45%).

Reality is, however, worse than the numbers written on paper. In many big cities (starting with our capital), trees are constantly cut down to make room for real estate projects. The irony is that many real estate developers who build on former tree populated areas, use the same trees in their logos and promote their residential quarters as green ones.

Meanwhile, what's left of the Romanian forest is in mourning.


Deforestation in Romania

video courtesy of Floare de colt

 

Category: Deforestation, | Tags: climate change, environment, deforestation, romanian forests,



Comments

Abhishek Nayak on 12th October 2009:

Deforestation is a major issue in India. Most recently an entire township’s forest cover was cut down to… save the water table! And the trees replaced by small saplings that are supposed to drink less water! Of course coincidentally they are good for timber as well.

Adela on 12th October 2009:

I’ve read about some of India’s troubles when I stumbled upon the “Help stop deforestation in India” project on Global Giving.

Your landscapes are similar to ours and yes, “convenient coincidences” happen here also. People have little to say when money speak an universal language.

Muusa on 13th October 2009:

I think It’s a little bit the same think in here (Finland), even though Finland is said to be the country with the biggest amount of forests in Europe, but if we look at the forests, what kind of forests those are, they are only there for economical reasons and so it has nothing to do with animals, only with growing as soon as possible and cutting the forest off.

Yordanka Stoyanova on 13th October 2009:

Sorry to hear this Adela! Is there any demonstrations against tree cutting in Romania?

Adela on 13th October 2009:

@Muusa What seems to happen in Finland reminds me of Machiavelli’s saying “The end justifies the means”

@Yordanka Unfortunately, no. Or none to be given space in the media anyway. There are people who complain in different forums, open letters sent to EU (which sued Romania a couple of days ago for not properly taking care the national parks & reservations), there are several projects & volunteers who go out and plant trees constantly but illegal cutting goes on.

I’ll get back with more pics from our forest-less mountains.

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