Romania plans to save some its last virgin forests, home to brown bears and wolves. The country will use new technology and will have the support of the European Union.
Environmental NGO’s have been invited to Romania as to speed up the process. Together with official administrators, they will draw maps of the threatened woodlands and add them to to a newly established national database to guarantee their protection by law. The database should go online within six months, according to Reuters.
Some of the beech forests might reach UNESCO's world heritage list.
"Virgin forests were preserved on valley bottoms, rocky areas, near alpine terrain," said Valentin Salageanu, Greenpeace forest campaign coordinator for Central and Eastern Europe. "They are forests that were hard to reach, maybe that is why they were saved. Many of them were destroyed in the last 10 years ... partially as a result of both illegal and poorly executed legal logging.”
He also estimated that their area had halved in the decade since 2005, when a partial inventory indicated Romania could have 250,000 hectares of virgin forests left, as reported by Reuters.
The Ministry of Environment has already set a new forest management plan, as to strengthen the guards on the forest lands and to impose fines for those who cut or trade the logs illegally. The Ministry has also launched a mobile app as to ask the citizens to track timber trucks and has provided funds for small private owners as to protect their forests.
"This is super-important because I believe in the future it's only through this electronic monitoring that we can in fact reduce illegal logging,” said Environment Minister Cristiana Pasca Palmer.
She added that the electronic tracking system allows the user the monitor the logs at every stage, starting from the sawing to the factory gate.