Romania's environment minister confirms massive illegal logging figures
Romania’s environment minister Costel Alexe announced on Friday, November 22, that approximately 38.6 million cubic meters of wood are cut each year in Romania, 20 million cubic meters more than the official figures. He concluded that the 20 million cubic meters are illegally logged, in line with the most pessimistic scenario circulated by environmental activists.
Alexe said that he came to this conclusion after consulting the experts who compiled the National Forestry Inventory - a document criticised by the association of forest owners and furniture producers.
"The first thing I wanted to see when I came to the ministry was the National Forest Inventory report. I was familiar with the subject from the discussions of the Environmental Commission of the Chamber and from press articles, but I was curious to see the official version. I found some shocking figures there, so shocking that, at first, it was hard for me to believe them. I called Mr. Marin Gheorghe, the person in charge of the IFN, to explain to me exactly how the entire documentation process was carried out, what were the techniques used, which are the indicators, and, after listening to all the explanations, I tell you that I have wholly accepted this report. The data there is real,” the environment minister said in a press release, local G4media.ro reported.
The minister also blamed the former Governments for having allegedly “hidden” the report. “The difference from 18.5 million cubic meters to 38.6 million cubic meters represents unauthorized cuts. Today, we have the biggest problems of unauthorized logging in the privately-owned forests, then in the forests of the local public authorities and, on the third place, in the forests managed by (state company) Romsilva,” Alexe said.
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