The Association of Veterans and Social Action (VIDRA) has published a report written by Vesna Grgic on deforestation in Croatia which brings forward allegations of illegal loggings, corruption, financial and ecological mismanagement in Croatian Natural Parks and Natura 2000 areas. The consequences on the ecosystem are devastating.
In the centre of the report is the FSC (Just last week a Greenpeace Report criticised that labels like FSC and others do not contribute to the protection of forests.) approved company Hrvatske Šume d.o.o. (Engl.: Croatian Forests Ltd) which has allegedly been involved in a massive sell out of the Croatian Forest. Areas affected include the special ornithology reserve in CRNA MLAKA, zoological reserve Varoski Lug, Nature Park Lonjsko Polje and donja posavina, Mount Zrinska Gora and Mount Bilogora. All of them being classified fully or at least partly under Natura 2000.
Report on Deforestation in Croatia shows Massive Corruption and Ecological Mismanagement
These are the most important environmental breaches and corruption allegations highlighted in the report:
- There are no approved Forest Management Plans for Croatian forests since 2017. This has led to severe illegal clear cuts in protected areas, forest and wetlands alike as well as a lack of plans or investments to regrow and afforest the harvested areas with catastrophic consequences on the special ornithological and zoological sites and a Ramsa listed wetland.
- There is a severe lack in the tracing of timber which leads to the loss of harvested timber. In relation with a criminal lawsuit against the deforestation of Mount Medvednica by Hrvatske Šume d.o.o., VIDRA found a deficit of 330.000m3 of wood which accounts for a value of 14 million Euros.
- Most of the logging in Croatian Forests is done by sub contracting companies, which means that there is no control over the forested area.
- EU funds have been misused to buy heavy machinery to deforest Croatian forests.
All of this has been happening under the eye of the government, since Hrvatske Šume d.o.o. has only one board member: the Croatian Agricultural Minister Marija Vučković. No explanatory statement has yet been published by the Croatian authorities.
Time for me to get active against Deforestation
In light of these allegations I have contacted the European Commission on behalf of VIDRA. The Commission will now asses a possible investigation based on this report. We call on the EU-Commission to close loopholes in the current legislation and enforce the EU regulations in Natura 2000 and other protected areas. Infringement Procedures have to start immediately in case of violations. Otherwise, there will be no forest left to be protected.