Compensations for forest owners in protected areas

Part of the losses suffered by the owners whose forests are located in protected areas will be covered by the compensations offered by the Romanian state through a new Government Decision, published in the Official Gazette this week. The compensations, which should be primarily directed to protected areas, are necessary to ensure a just transition for local communities that depend on natural resources. These funds should not be covered by the national budget, as it is the case now, but by the European funds in the National Strategic Plan (PNS), within the Common Agricultural Policy.

WWF-Romania actively supports the Environment Ministry’s and the working group’s efforts to protect 10% of Romania’s natural terrestrial and marine habitats, to meet the objective set by the European Strategy for Biodiversity 2030. This means that approximately 700,000 hectares of forests will be strictly protected and excluded from commercial logging.

One should understand, however, that the protection and the conservation regime in protected areas inevitably comes with costs, which should rightly be covered by compensations. WWF has been actively involved in the whole process from the beginning and, in early 2023, sent clear proposals to identify strict protection areas for forests.

Based on the principles of proportionality and  representativeness, we believe that, to the types of areas already proposed for protection, other types of ecosystems should be added. Therefore, we submit two other proposals related to strict protection, within an active management, for aquatic ecosystems and adjacent wetlands, together with related buffer zones, and for mosaic silvo-pastoral (agro-forestry) high conservation value landscapes.

WWF-Romania considers it is essential to align to European policies with the real needs of local communities and expresses its openness to continue to take part at this participatory process to harmonize climate and environmental measures with Romania's future challenges.

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