More than 18 Thousand cubic meters of Illegal Logging in Bulgaria was Established in 2022
In 2022, the total amount of wood identified by employees of the "Executive Forestry Agency" (EFA) and its structures, subject to illegal felling or disposal transactions with wood of unknown origin, amounted to more than 18.1 thousand solid cubic meters. This said the acting Minister of Agriculture Yavor Gechev in response to a parliamentary question related to the fight against illegal logging in Bulgaria's forests.
Minister Gechev pointed out that, given the nature of the violations, there is currently no accounting of the area from which the established illegal logging was carried out.
According to him, during daily inspections by forest officials, most often violations are found related to the harvesting of wood from trees that are not marked with a control forest mark, the harvesting of wood from territories for which permits have not been issued for felling, storage of wood not marked with a control forest mark, production mark or municipal mark and/or not accompanied by a transport ticket, transportation of unmarked wood and not accompanied by a transport ticket, etc.
"The sanctions and fines imposed and entered into force in 2021 for established violations of forestry legislation amount to BGN 1,239,851," added Gechev and emphasized that in accordance with the deadlines set for the initiation of administrative-criminal proceedings and the issuance of criminal decrees, according to the Law on Administrative Violations and Penalties, at the present moment the total amount of imposed sanctions, fines and compensations for violations found in 2022 amounts to BGN 818,762.
Only in the period from August 1 to December 31, 2022, the employees of EFA and its regional structures have carried out more than 7,800 checks on compliance with forest legislation, together with representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. As a result of the organizational actions taken in 2022 by the employees of IAG and its regional structures, more than 320,000 checks were carried out on compliance with the current legislation in forests, which represents more than 28% more compared to the carried out control activities for the protection of forest territories in the country in 2021. In 2022, 286,000 inspections were carried out by state-owned enterprises and their territorial divisions, which is 22% more than in 2021.
As a result of the activities carried out to control the protection of forest territories, in 2022 the employees of EFA and its structures initiated more than 7,000 administrative-criminal proceedings for established violations of forest and hunting legislation, and in relation to this indicator, there is an increase of over 22% compared to those formed in 2021. For the same period, over 4,400 productions were formed by employees of state enterprises and their territorial divisions in 2022, which is 17% more than those formed in 2021. As a result of the activities carried out to control the protection of forest territories in Bulgaria, in 2022, for violations of the Law on Forests and the by-laws on its implementation, the activity of 259 sites for wood extraction was suspended.
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