Spela Bandelj, Biodiversity Manager for Greenpeace CEE recently interviewed Jozsef Fidloczky, Project Manager of Life40ak Forests, as they talked about the beauty and threats to the Carpathians, a northern mountain range in Hungary subjected to heavy logging. Spela and Jozsef walked a Natura 2000 site that has been subjected to clearcutting and talked about the future of the forests.
In the video, Fidloczky explains how forest management practices today reduce the health and age of forests, reduce biodiversity, introduce invasives, and destroy microhabitats and the wildlife that depend on them. The researcher talks about how forestry is only .02% of the economy (GDP) in Hungary, but that ecological importance should outweigh economic importance.
45% of Hungary’s forests are theoretically protected, but less than 6% is actually under any kind of meaningful protection such as national parks status. After an “energy crisis” was declared by the government last year, all bets are off for adequate protections or adherence to existing rules. The government approved a “cut everything, everywhere” policy, Jozsef noted. In 2021, 55% of the wood harvested in Hungary was for firewood, either for personal usage, burned in power plants, or for export. Fidloczky feels that we are at a turning point and said “we have a common ecosystem; we can destroy it one by one, or work together to improve it.”
Watch the interview here and visit Savecarpathians.org to learn more.