Alone against the timber mafia

Of all of Romania’s mountainous regions,Maramureș is the one where it’s most dangerous to be a forester. In recent years, three foresters have been killed and dozens more have been injured in attacks by wood thieves.

The local timber mafia is mightier than the special laws that were written to defend the protected areas. After decades in which illegal logging became the norm and created a pyramidal system that profits from the wood taken from forests, the Maramureș Mountains Natural Park now resembles a desert: entire slopes were cleared while no one was watching, leaving behind only the stumps of the trees that once stood there.

A year and a half ago, a forest brigadier who’d just been sent to a district in this region started to enforce the laws that had been circumvented until then. The owners of the forestry companies, the locals and the brigadier’s own colleagues responded by ganging up on him and staging a full-scale rebellion.

Recorder went to Maramureș to investigate Brigadier Florin Tăut’s story and uncover what happens when an entire community embraces wood theft.

This video has English subtitles.

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