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May 30, 16:04

Private owners control half of Romanian forests, while foreigners gain larger shares

Around half of Romania’s forests are in the hands of communities or private owners,while the rest is in the state’s ownership, and foreigners have started to increase their forestry purchases in the country. Meanwhile, more than 5 percent of the total forests in Romania have been destroyed in the private ownership sector – some 350,000 hectares in the last 20 years.

The country has around 6.4 million hectares of forest and 120,000 people employed in this sector, while Sweden, with some 20 million hectares of forest, has 96,000 people employed in this sector. “Romania has forests that are not accessible for wood supply – around 20 percent of the area,” said Thomas Thuresson, senior consultant at the Norwegian Forestry Group.

The country’s growing stock stood at 200 cubic meters over bark per hectare, according to Thuresson, who attended a conference on Romania’s forests in Bucharest. Fellings amount to 3.2 cubic meters per hectare, he added.

Romania should add two hectares of forests by 2013, through the forestation of areas in the hand of private owners, according to the country’s forestry code. This means around 80,000 hectares of new forest should be added each year, but in reality Romania adds only 2,000 hectares of forests on degraded land each year.

In 1990, all of Romania’s forests were owned by the state. A new law on retrocession was enforced, so at the end of 2010, the state had only 66.3 percent of the country’s forests. The ratio went further down to 52.2 percent.

In recent years, foreigners started to buy more of Romania’s forests. The largest private forestlands owner in Romania is the Harvard University, with over 35,000 hectares.

Finnish Tornator is one of the largest private forest owners in Romania, with more than 12,000 hectares of forest in the country. The company has a similar area of forest in Estonia. In total, it owns around 600,000 hectares of forestlands.

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(photo source: Corina Saceanu/Romania-Insider.com)

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