The Romanian National Catalogue of Virgin and Quasi-virgin Forests should be a tool to identify, register and protect valuable forests in Romania. The intention of the new legislation and catalogue was to ensure strict protection of these virgin and quasi-virgin forests. However, despite of legislative support, the catalogue is not working effectively. Experts expected improvement of effective registration from the beginning of the catalogues’ existence. Yet, after several delays the Ministry of Waters and Forests decided to postpone all processes of registration. This happened in early 2017.
Implementation has failed, so far
The implementation of legislation focusing to the strict protection of the virgin forests proved to be quite difficult. It is believed that this happened, because the people who were in charge to implement this legislation showed indifference, lack of involvement or even unwillingness to apply it. The ministerial order offered the tool to identify the virgin and quasi-virgin forests. However, implementation of the legislative requirements was not effective enough. Some people even think that the process was purposely ignored. Therefore, the National Catalogue of Virgin and Quasi-virgin Forests did not meet expectation, yet.
Reality was that only small areas have been classified as virgin or quasi-virgin forests. This was often as a result of public pressure and evidence. This result is surprising, because there was a budget available to cover the cost of the entire planned process. Meanwhile, logging operations in Romania continue on a large scale and the deforestation rates are concerning.
Temporary ban and compensations
Researchers and experts recommend to establish a moratorium on logging in all potential primary forests as reported and documented by experts and NGOs. This temporary ban of logging should hold until independent and scientific research determines the conservation value status of the specific forests.
The ministry of Waters and Forests should also urge for the implementation of proper financial mechanism for compensations. This wil support the private forest owners of primary forests, which are or could become under strict protection regime. As a result, the payment scheme would crucially decrease logging pressure from valuable forest stands. Furthermore it will raise acceptance of protection with land owners.
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