WWF acts to save Europe’s last remaining virgin forests

Posted on 26 October 2011  | 
Virgin forests have survived because of their inaccessibility and the low economic value of the wood coming from the old trees.
Virgin forests have survived because of their inaccessibility and the low economic value of the wood coming from the old trees.
© Mircea StruteanuEnlarge
Bucharest, Romania – 250,000 hectares of virgin forests in Romania are awaiting protection according to a new campaign, launched by WWF today. The campaign is seeking protection for over 80% of Romania’s virgin forests, which are currently left unprotected. The Carpathian Mountains are home to a total of 322,000 hectares of virgin forests with the vast majority being 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 the WWF 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 to take pride in 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”, Csibi said.

Virgin or old growth forests are untouched by humans, the last places where nature survives in its pure state. They are wonderful complex systems where seedlings, young, mature and old trees are interspersed by very large, old live, imposing trees. Dead trees and decaying logs are just as important as the living trees, building up together an environment that is home for many different flora and fauna. Romania’s virgin forests are home to up to 13,000 species.

Virgin forests have survived 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 challenges of managing small patches of forests in a business way.

Over the past few decades, virgin forests have disappeared in the developed countries. Romania’s virgin forests represent up to 65% of the virgin forests still remaining in Europe, outside of Russia. They are an important part of Europe’s natural patrimony and were lost mostly due to bad management. Their scientific, educational, and ecological value is undisputed.

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 has just 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 www.padurivirgine.ro. 7000 people have signed the petition since its launch.

“We expect our initiative to be supported not only by people who wish for a sustainable future, but especially by the authorities who can decide whether to solve this problem or not. I believe that we can obtain 100% protection of our virgin forests”, Csibi said.

The campaign is taking place with the support of WWF corporate partners IKEA and Lafarge, together with media partners Antena 3, Europa FM, Discovery Channel and Think Outside the Box. The technical component of the campaign is insured by WWF experts and by the Forests Research and Management Institute, Romania.

Furthermore, the cause is supported by seven „ambassadors”, all popular media pesonalities in Romania: Ada Condeescu, Mihaela Rădulescu, Serban Copot, Bogdan Dumitrache, Moise Guran, Dani Oţil and Alexandru Tomescu.
Virgin forests have survived because of their inaccessibility and the low economic value of the wood coming from the old trees.
Virgin forests have survived because of their inaccessibility and the low economic value of the wood coming from the old trees.
© Mircea Struteanu Enlarge
Virgin or old growth forests are untouched by humans, the last places where nature survives in its pure state.
Virgin or old growth forests are untouched by humans, the last places where nature survives in its pure state.
© Mircea Struteanu Enlarge

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