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France 2 investigation: Romanian virgin forests become furniture in the homes of rich Europeans

A comprehensive reportage released last week by France 2 shows how the large furniture manufacturers in the world, which claim to promote responsible management of forests, are purchasing illegally harvested timber from Romanian forests.

The ‘Cash Investigation’ journalists started from a common sofa, produced by Ikea and followed the production chain which led them to Romania, the site where the pieces of furniture are produced and wherefrom the timber is supplied. Ikea sofas made of virgin wood in Tarcul Mountains, Caras Severin County (south-western Romania).

Throughout the investigation the journalists’ companion was Gabriel Paun, chairman of Agent Green, one of the most active environment organisations fighting for stopping the logging of the virgin forests in Romania.  Paun admits he worked with the French journalists for two years. “The idea was rather simple. We went to a virgin forest, we followed the timber down to the storage house, from there to the company which cut it, to a factory in Sebes, further on to a storage house in Cluj and from there on to the entire planet, where the timber becomes furniture,” Paun said, according to adevarul.ro.

He added there are problems with the legal and with the illegal logging of forests. The legal ones are also abusive, irrespective of the form of property, state of private. “We do not agree with most of the forestry agreements. The cut is above the level of manufacturing, generally, and is done poorly.”

Paun also says Romsilva (the national forestry company) looks only at the economic issues and ignore the conservation ones. Romsilva makes abuses knowingly and with the complicity of the Forest Guard.

According to Agent Green, some 1,386 hectares of virgin woods, discovered in 2005, are currently exploited with the approval of the Resita Forestry Directorate in violation of the law. At least 28,951 cubic metres of timber were supplied from only one mountain slope during the past five years, operations conducted by one company: Susai Servcom SRL. The NGO calls on the Environment Ministry to immediately stop timber cutting in the protected area Sit Natura 2000 Tarcu Mountains and to set a national moratorium.

“We ask the companies Kronospan, Holzindustrie Schweighofer, Losan and Massiv to turn down the timber coming from the virgin woods,” Gabriel Paun said.

 

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