Freshly discovered virgin forests owned by Holzindustrie Schweighofer to be preserved
Agent Green calls on Forest Ministry to improve methodology for virgin forests identification
The field inventory in Holzindustrie Schweighofer own Romanian Carpathian forests ended this week and shows there are 430 hectares of virgin forests and at least 250 hectares of forests with special ecosystems to be legally preserved. These forests have not been previously identified by any official mapping  and shows that Romanian Government must improve its methodology for identification of virgin forests. The studies were carried out by forest experts recommended and assisted by Agent Green during May – October 2017 and will be submitted gradually to the Romanian authorities. The paradise forests are located in Arges, Buzau, Neamt, Valcea and Hunedoara counties.
“It is a pleasant surprize that we discovered so many beautiful and precious untouched forests still standing. Their beauty and biodiversity are stunning. It looks like the rain forests from Jurassic Park. The fact that most of them have not been known by any official inventory so far is an indicator that nobody knows how many virgin forests have been lost and how many there still are in Romania. It is also a call for the forest ministry to create a better methodology to identify virgin forests.” said Gabriel Paun, founder of Agent Green.
All identified paradise forests are in mountain areas at altitudes between 980 and 1475 m and are mostly mixed forests of beech, fir and spruce. The researchers discovered that the forests are much older than in the official forestry inventories. The boundaries of each forest body have been clearly described on the map and received a detailed description and relevant photographs. The elements of flora and fauna have been described in detailed, including the locations of the reproduction spots for amphibians and reptiles or the nests of the birds and large mammals.
If the identified virgin and special forest ecosystems will be validated by the Romanian forest ministry to enter the national catalogue, then the forestry inventories will have to be adapted accordingly to exclude these forests from logging areas.
Agent Green has been campaigning Holzindustrie Schweighofer to improve its forest policies for over a decade and the company agreed in the recent times to refuse wood from virgin forests and national parks and to develop a transparent traceability system to prove its commitments to the wide public . The company staff was very open and supportive during the field studies offering researchers unrestricted access to all their properties and documents. In order to clarify or to prevent arising interpretations, the structured dialogue between the company and Agent Green is not necessary permanent, did not and will not involve any direct or indirect funding of the organization.
“There is one milestone left in this project, the governmental recognition by inclusion in the national catalogue of virgin forests. Meanwhile we hope that this positive project will inspire other private forests owners to make the necessary studies as they will also receive yearly compensation money from the government from now on when their virgin forests are preserved”, concluded Paun.
 Veen, P.; Biris, I.-A. (Eds.), 2004: “Inventory and strategy for sustainable management and protection of virgin forests in Romania”, PINMATRA project, co-financed by the Dutch Royal Society for Nature Conservation KNNV and recognized as the Romanian official mapping of virgin forests in MO 3397/2012