If Bucharest fails to take effective measures to stop deforestation in the Carpathian Mountains, Brussels can take the country to the European Court of Justice.
There are no roads, no trucks, no traces of houses. In the depths of the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, some landscapes are only carved by rain, with no or almost no human hands. These virgin forests have unparalleled biodiversity reserves and have a history of 10,000 years. These spaces are home to another endangered species (bears, bobcats, wolves and wolves). The most recent is Bison, which was reintroduced in 2014).
But since the fall of communism in 1989, this fragile ecosystem has been threatened, and communism has opened the door to forestry companies. There is no need to travel to Amazonas or Borneo to observe scenes of large-scale deforestation. Even within Europe, in the context of corruption, huge commercial transactions persist and threaten the country’s virgin forests.
On the winding roads of Transylvania, trucks carrying logs are in droves. They have one or two complete trailers, from the mountain to the sawmill. According to satellite images of the Global Forest Observation Network, this daily parade is a visible part of a huge market, which is about 6 billion euros per year. Between 2001 and 2019, Romania has cleared 349,000 hectares of forest. .
And this pace has accelerated: Since 2014, according to the national inventory, the country has cut 38 million cubic meters of wood every year. To make matters worse, only half of this wood will be legally mined. The rest… disappeared.
For Gabriel Paun, the founder of Green’s non-governmental organization that opposes deforestation, this excessive consumption is due to Romania’s national demand (3.5 million households use wood for heating) and the forestry industry. The industry also wants to sell wood for the furniture industry. He asked the Romanian authorities to be responsible. “The government can’t say to stop. The timber company came here without supervision. Today, we found ourselves importing wood from Bulgaria for heating, because our products disappeared in the exported furniture sets.”