Greenpeace Romania has identified almost 300,000 hectares of potential virgin forests in Romania, and has drawn up a map of these forests in collaboration with the Eberswalde University in Germany and Al. I. Cuza University in Iasi.
The mapping of the potential virgin forests in Romania took one year, and required the evaluation of nearly 6 million hectares. The map was made using satellite images and public information.
“At the end of the process, we identified over 295,000 hectares of potential virgin forests that can become the starting point for the national inventory of virgin and quasi-virgin forests in Romania,” reads a press release from Greenpeace Romania.
Brasov county has the largest area with potential virgin forests, namely 49,601 hectares, followed by Caras Severin county with 39,513 hectares, and Arges county with 38,918 hectares. Meanwhile, the highest density of potential virgin forests is in the Natura 2000 Fagaras site.
“We expect the Ministry of Waters and Forests to take this exercise as an invitation to quick and concrete actions to save virgin forests in Romania. The first step in protecting these extraordinary ecosystems is to carry out a preliminary assessment that provides an estimate of the total potential area, and to restrict the field path for documentation. That's exactly what Greenpeace Romania's Map of Potential Virgin Forests offers, a map done together with the Eberswalde and Al. I. Cuza universities,” said Valentin Salageanu, Greenpeace Romania forest and biodiversity campaign coordinator.
According to Greenpeace Romania, the Romanian Carpathians are covered by the largest virgin forests in the temperate zone of the European Union. Around 13,000 species live in these forests, including the largest population of bears in Europe, rare and endemic species, and large carnivores such as the wolf and the lynx.
“However, despite their importance for Europe and Romania, virgin forests are still degraded, either out of ignorance, or simply by lack of responsibility for their value. We are witnessing the accelerated destruction of one of Romania's most important heritage assets, which should be a central element of the country brand,” according to Greenpeace.
The organization also says that the protection of virgin forests in Romania can be done only by completing the National Catalog of the virgin and quasi-forest forests in the country. In order to get here, these extraordinary habitats must be identified and documented in a national inventory.
The map of potential virgin forests in Romania can be found here.
Irina Marica, [email protected]