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Update: EIA report shows Schweighofer continues destruction of forests in Romania. Romsilva denies

A new investigation from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) takes a look behind the scenes to detail how the Austrian timber giant Holzindustrie Schweighofer, one of the largest wood processors in Romania, continues to fuel the destruction of Europe’s last old growth forests, in spite of five years of pledges not to source timber from national parks or protected areas, businesswire.com informs.

EIA used Romania’s ground breaking public timber tracking website called Forest Inspector, to systematically study the sourcing operations of several Schweighofer suppliers as they cut wood in two national parks in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains. EIA visited these sites and documented large-scale, sometimes illegal, commercial logging in the both the Rodna Mountains and Calimani National Parks.

According to data compiled by EIA, companies that supply Schweighofer have harvested at least 35,000 cubic meters from these two parks in an 18-month time period through June 2018. On-the-ground research tracked logs from these parks to local wood depots that supply Schweighofer.

Schweighofer’s extensive sourcing from third-party log yards – approximately 45% of its Romanian log purchases – exposes the company to wood from national parks, as well as to illegal logging and other unsustainable practices.

EIA also found that other large multinational companies in Romania, like Kronospan and Egger have similar sourcing issues. The lack of real traceability to the forest origin by all these companies, in a country like Romania with an elevated risk of corruption, means that their purchases fuel the illegal and unsustainable logging that continues to erode Romania’s rich biodiversity, and the economic future of its timber processing industry, the same source informs.

According to realitatea.net, EIA says that the Austrian Group Schweighofer has sold the forests owned in Romania in order to avoid responsibility and to pass over to its suppliers the responsibility for illegal logging.

Romsilva denies

“Wood resulting from forestry works from the sustainable conservation areas of national or natural parks has legal origin, the forestry works being in compliance with the legislation on protected natural areas, the management plans and the forestry arrangements, all elaborated by specialists in protected areas and forestry, approved by the authorities,” Romsilva informed Tuesday evening.

Romsilva draws attention to the fact that the EIA’s request to stop forestry works in the sustainable conservation areas of national parks has no legal basis and is not based on any study. Romsilva argues that all national and natural parks have strict and complete protection areas where intervention is forbidden and sustainable ‘buffer’ conservation areas, where the legislation provides very clearly the conditions for forestry works.

“For example, the National Forestry Registry – Romsilva, administers 12 national parks with a cumulated area of 307,406 hectares, out of which 115,319 hectares are in strict or integral protection areas, the rest being in sustainable conservation areas, where the forestry works are carried out in compliance with the legislation and all forestry regulations, in accordance with the management plans for parks,” Romsilva argues.

The company representatives say that the wood resulted from forestry works in the sustainable conservation areas of the Calimani National Park and Rodna Mountains National Park does not come from illegal logging, but from legal and authorized forestry works.

“The careful reading of this ‘investigation’ shows that the authors do not master Romanian legislation and have no knowledge of forestry and forestry rules,” Romsilva concludes.

About Victor Lupu