WWF acts to save Europe’s last remaining virgin forests

Romania’s virgin forests represent up to 65 per cent of the virgin forests still remaining in Europe © Mircea Struteanu

250,000 hectares of virgin forests in Romania are in urgent need of protection, according to a new campaign launched by WWF. The campaign is seeking protection for over 80 per cent of Romania’s virgin forests, which are currently under threat.

The Carpathian Mountains are home to a total of 322,000 hectares of virgin forests, with the vast majority being in Romania. Today virgin forests make up less than 3 per cent of total forest area in Romania.

“Saving all our forests and their unrivalled biodiversity is our mission, but the pinnacle of this mission is the protection of our virgin forests”, said Magor Csibi, Country Manager of WWF’s Danube-Carpathian Programme in Romania. “We will never be able to rebuild this part of nature. Once lost, it is lost forever. Considering that we are among the last European nations fortunate enough to have such a treasure, it is our moral obligation to preserve this piece of nature intact and to leave a small piece of wilderness to our children”.

Virgin or old growth forests are untouched by humans, the last places where nature survives in its purest state. Their scientific, educational and ecological value is undisputed. They are wonderful, complex systems where seedlings, young, mature and old trees are interspersed. Dead trees and decaying logs are just as important as the living trees, building up together an environment that is home for many different plants and animals. Romania’s virgin forests are home to up to 13,000 species.

Romania’s virgin forests represent up to 65 per cent of the virgin forests still remaining in Europe, outside of Russia. They are an important part of Europe’s natural patrimony, and their demise was mostly due to bad management.

These forests have survived in Romania because of their inaccessibility and the low economic value of the wood coming from the old trees. However, today virgin forests are more vulnerable than ever because of socio-economic pressures in Romania. These include the ever increasing demand for wood and the need to manage small patches of forests in a way that makes good business sense.

WWF’s Petition to save virgin forests

To save virgin forests, total protection is needed.

In a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests in Romania, WWF is asking for urgent measures for the effective protection of the country’s remaining virgin forests and changes to the legislative framework to guarantee their protection as well as compensatory funds for private forest owners.

An awareness raising campaign telling the story of virgin forests also has been launched in Romania. A petition asking the Ministry of Environment and Forests to take urgent measures to protect virgin forests can be signed on the campaign website (in Romanian) www.padurivirgine.ro


Share this