Romania’s forests are in trouble – and Greenpeace and other environmental NGOs have implored the Romanian government to save them. The initiative is racing to map forested areas in a national database to ensure federal protection status. The practice of logging has devastated the woodlands in the last decade, but it is not too late for the unspoiled wilderness that still remains.

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The national database that will track the expansive forests is predicted to go online within the next six months. Eight sections of Romania’s forests are set to become UNESCO world heritage sites next year and several others are eligible, which will further protect the area and invite more reverent hiking enthusiasts to the area, instead of loggers. Valentin Salageanu, the Greenpeace forest campaign coordinator for Central and Eastern Europe, estimated about half of the 250,000 hectares of woodlands has been destroyed since 2005. He told Reuters, “Many of them were destroyed in the last 10 years … partially as a result of both illegal and poorly executed legal logging.”

Related: Despite protests, Poland commences logging in Europe’s last primeval woodland

Greenpeace has specifically demanded the Romanian Ministry to impose a moratorium on any interventions in the ancient and old-growth forests, initiate an inventory of the trees that are left, and register all 24 identified sections as official nominees for world heritage sites.

In addition to mapping the area, the country’s environment ministry has increased guard presence and enforced harsh fines for any illegal timber cutting, shipping, or trading. They have also encouraged residents to use the Forest Inspector mobile app, which allows users to track logging trucks and provides the government with invaluable on-the-ground intel.

Via Reuters

Images via Good Free Photos, Flickr