Romania forest murder as battle over logging turns violent - BBC News
Romania is home to more than half of Europe’s last remaining old-growth and primeval forests — valuable ecosystems home to bears, wolves, lynx, and wildcat.
There is considerable alarm at the levels of violence illegal loggers are willing to use in order to steal wood. That wood can end up anywhere across Europe, from furniture to paper or building materials.
“We are deeply concerned that forest rangers and activists like us are being killed while investigating illegal logging in Romania.”
Romania’s state-owned forest management company, Romsilva, which manages 48% of the country’s forests, strongly condemned the latest killing and cited alarming numbers of attacks against forestry workers who were trying to protect against “wood thieves”.
It has counted 16 attacks on its forestry workers this year alone.
The head of the Silva Trade Union Federation, Silviu Geana, complains that rangers are unable to defend themselves and six rangers have now lost their lives in recent years.
Research by Greenpeace Romania estimates that Romania is losing as much as three hectares of its total forest cover every hour as a result of degradation, illegal and legal logging — including swathes of its pristine old-growth forests.
Last month three NGOs, Agent Green, ClientEarth and EuroNatur, filed a complaint to the European Commission against Romania’s government, alleging that its logging practices often contravened EU law on nature protection.
“There is a lot at stake because Romania is home to the last, vast old-growth and primeval forest cover — but they are simply becoming chipboard for furniture.” Gabriel Paun said.
The government in Bucharest says it has boosted efforts to fight illegal logging, with better inspection and monitoring, but the EU says big challenges lie ahead.