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WWF representative: Romania sells its forests at estimated gross volume before trees are felled

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We do not have a forestry strategy to guide us, and for 30 years Romania has been selling its forests in the form of a roughly estimated volume, before the trees are felled and we are not concerned with checking the quantities that leave from the forest, Serban Niculescu, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) representative on the Danube-Carpathians Program told Monday a specialized debate.

"We do not have a forestry strategy to guide us. Instead, we have excessive political interference and a lack of transparency. We have a forest restitution process that is not yet complete, after 30 years since it began. We do not have compensation mechanisms for forest owners and last but not least we have a faulty way of capitalizing on wood, in the form of wood standing in the forest, as well as a misdirected control system, both generating systemic conflicts of interests. Illegal logging combat system starts off and is strongly influenced by the way we sell our forest.Romania sells its forests in the form of a roughly estimated volume before the trees are felled, and at the same time we are not concerned with checking the quantities leaving the forest. Moreover, the basis of the control system is the imprint of an iron hammer applied to the wood.This mark does not constitute solid evidence in court and cannot guarantee anything related to logging volume. The same number of marked trees can mean, depending on the dendrometric method used and the measurement error, a total volume different from the resulting wood. This creates a gray area that cannot be controlled," the WWF specialist explained.

He added that in certain cases, forest inspections are carried out either at random or arbitrarily, and operators do not risk fines or sanctions.

SUMAL 2.0, a platform that will become operational starting with January 31, 2021, requires the loading of photos from several angles of the loaded wood for any transport in Romania, as well as the marking in the forest of wood flooring with GPS coordinates, before the trees are cut out. Moreover, in the new SUMAL it will be possible to see daily all the volumes of wood material from any warehouse in the country.

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