More than 10 million saplings will be planted this year in Romania by the authorities in charge of forest management, Romanian Minister for the Environment Barna Tánczos said on Sunday. Tánczos, who is head of the ministry on behalf of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its Hungarian acronym RMDSZ) made the announcement in a Facebook post on the occasion of the International Day of Forests, celebrated on March 21.
“We are determined to increase the forest lands of Romania by afforesting the neglected, dry areas, which are already in the process of desertification. The International Day of Forests is a good opportunity to raise public awareness on the importance of forests and the value they represent, regardless of their type,” the minister for the environment pointed out in his Facebook message on Sunday.
The politician also highlighted the fact that more than 60,000 species of trees exist in the world, and more than one billion people depend directly on forests for food, housing, energy and income. “We cannot let forests disappear; they have an immense importance and value!” Tánczos underlined in his post.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated March 21 as the International Day of Forests by a resolution in 2012, the Agerpres news agency recalls. The UN sought to encourage countries to organize local, national, and international activities involving forests and trees, such as tree-planting campaigns.
As forests are closely linked to biodiversity and sustaining wildlife, environmentalists keep warning countries that the destruction of their remaining woods would be catastrophic for a whole array of living organisms and the climate would also be drastically altered. Unfortunately, in many places, tree loss is accelerating, mostly because of wildfires or because of slash-and-burn agriculture, an aggressive method in which existing vegetation is cut down and the land burned before new seeds are sown.
In Romania, illegal logging is an issue authorities still have to deal with. Last February, the European Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Romania, urging authorities to properly implement the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which prevents timber companies from producing and placing products on the EU market that are made from illegally harvested logs. The Commission found that “Inconsistencies in the national legislation do not allow Romanian authorities to check large amounts of illegally harvested timber.” The Commission also found that Romanian authorities fail to evaluate any impacts on protected habitats during their forest management.
Title image: The Ministry for the Environment is now set to increase forest areas in Romania. The image is an illustration.