Thursday, October 27, 2011

WWF urges Romania to protect its virgin forests

(AFP)

BUCHAREST — Environmental group WWF on Wednesday urged Romania to protect its virgin forests in the Carpathians, threatened by economic and social pressures.

In a letter to the Ministry of Environment, WWF asked for "urgent measures for the effective protection of the country?s remaining virgin forests" covering some 250,000 hectares.

"Virgin forests have survived because of their inaccessibility and the low economic value of the wood coming from old trees," the group said.

"However, today virgin forests are more vulnerable than ever because of socio-economic pressures in Romania. These include the ever increasing demand for wood and the challenges of managing small patches of forests" for profit.

According to Romanian environmental group Agent Green, the Ministry of Environment has recently okayed the felling of some 5,000 cubic metres of wood from the Retezat national park, claiming it had been damaged by insects.

Some of the wood has been delivered to a lumber factory owned by Austrian company Schweighofer, the group said.

"The firm felling the trees has been fined, but the destruction continues."

Agent Green added that trees have also been downed in a "barbarian way" in the national park of Domogled.

"We urge the ministry to ban felling in national parks and call on the Austrian company to stop using wood from virgin forests."

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