Romania races to save some of the last untouched forests in Europe

September 14, 2016 by  
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Romania’s forests are in trouble – and the government has teamed up with Greenpeace and other environmental NGOs to save them. The initiative is racing to map forested areas in a national database to ensure federal protection status. Both legal and illegal logging have devastated the woodlands in the last decade, but it is not too late for the unspoiled wilderness that still remains. The national database that will track the expansive forests is predicted to go online within the next six months. Several of Romania’s beech forests may also qualify as UNESCO world heritage sites , further protecting the area and inviting reverent hiking enthusiasts, instead of loggers. Valentin Salageanu, the Greenpeace forest campaign coordinator for Central and Eastern Europe, estimated about half of the 250,000 hectares of woodlands has been destroyed since 2005. He told Reuters , “Many of them were destroyed in the last 10 years … partially as a result of both illegal and poorly executed legal logging.” Related: Despite protests, Poland commences logging in Europe’s last primeval woodland In addition to mapping the area, the country’s environment ministry has increased guard presence and enforced harsh fines for any illegal timber cutting, shipping, or trading. They have also encouraged residents to use the Forest Inspector mobile app, which allows users to track logging trucks and provides the government with invaluable on-the-ground intel. Via Reuters Images via Good Free Photos , Flickr

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Romania races to save some of the last untouched forests in Europe

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