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Stealing the Last Forest

Romania is home to Europe's last remaining virgin forests and some of the continent's largest populations of bears, wolves, and lynx. Theseforests are under serious threat due to rampant illegal logging. Over a multi-year investigation, EIA documented this illegal logging and found a major driver behind this destruction was an Austrian-based timber and wood processing company known as Holzindustrie Schweighofer.

Earlier this year, EIA released a video documenting how Schweighofer willingly and knowingly accepted illegally harvested timber and incentivized additional cutting through a bonus system. The company is the largest buyer of softwood timber in Romania, responsible for processing around 40% of the country's total annual softwood production. It then sells this processed timber to nearly every European Union member state, to popular biomass companies, to be used as bio-fuel and lumber.

EIA's report, Stealing the Last Forest: Austria's Largest Timber Company, Land Rights, and Corruption in Romania, provides new evidence to Schweighofer's illegal business practices and documents the many types of illegalities prevailing in Romania's forests. In nearly every case investigated, the illicit wood arrived at Schweighofer’s mills. The report also identifies Europe's largest buyers of Schweighofer's products.

Read the full report in English here.

To read in Romanian, click here.

To read in German, click here.

View all Reports

Recent Blog Posts

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During its meeting this week, the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) Board of Directors will determine whether to end its disassociation with one of the largest timber processors in Europe, the Austrian HS Timber Group (formerly known as Holzindustrie Schweighofer). At stake is not only HS Timber's hoped-for shot at restoring its name after a series of scandals, but also the reputation and the future of the FSC itself.
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