In 2017, Romanian authorities have identified a total of 12,487 cases of illegal logging, up by 32 percent year-on-year, a report published by Greenpeace says. Illegal logging cost the Romanian state RON 41.546.406 (EUR 8,955,939) last year, up by 5.25 percent.
According to the Greenpeace report, 34 cases of illegal logging are reported everyday. Most of the cases are reported to the authorities by citizens. In counties such as Dolj, Gorj and Valcea, half of the cases investigated were identified by citizens.
According to the Report of Illegal Logging in Romanian Forests in 2017, most cases were identified, as in 2016, in Mures County – 1,511 cases (12 percent), Brasov – 762 cases (6 percent) and Olt – 730 cases (6 percent).
Compared to 2016, the authorities identified 8,461 serious offences, representing a massive 62.02 percent year-on-year increase.
“It is important to mention the differences between cases,” said Crisanta Lungu, regional coordinator of the forest and biodiversity campaign. “In some cases it is a matter of 1-2 cubic meters illegally cut, and in other cases hundreds or even thousands of cubic meters. For example, in the counties of Arges and Olt, although a large number of cases have been recorded, the average volume of illegally cut wood / case is 3-4 cubic meters. At the opposite end there are the counties of Cluj, Maramures and Sibiu, which total 53.97 percent of the volume of illegally cut timber in 2017, at national level, ” Lungu added.
An important role in identifying and reporting the cases of illegal cuts was played by Romanian citizens. The most important contribution was recorded in Dolj County, where 57,22 percent of the cases investigated by the authorities were reported by the citizens, followed by the counties Gorj, with 49.40 percent and Valcea, with 47.15 percent respectively.
“We applaud the contribution of civil society in identifying cases of illegal logging, but this should be, first of all, a priority of the authorities. As they are ineffective in the fight against illegal logging, we will soon launch the Forest Guardians application, a tool that enables citizens to actively engage in the fight to protect forests by identifying illegal logging and reporting, as well as verifying the legality of timber transport,” said Ciprian Galusca, coordinator of Greenpeace Romania’s forest and biodiversity campaign.