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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

Civil Society Statement on the Weakening of Institutions and Governance in the Forest Sector
03/13/2020
Civil Society Statement on the Weakening of Institutions and Governance in the Forest Sector
New global protection measures for threatened rosewood trees start this week
11/25/2019
A number of threatened tree species have been given a new lease on life. At its 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18) in August 2019, CITES granted protection to several species – adding them to Appendix II of the binding global wildlife treaty. Ninety days after the decisions were taken in Geneva, the listings for mukula and mulanje cedar are now coming into effect.

Recent Reports

Cashing-In On Chaos
06/03/2020
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)’s three-year investigation into the Senegal-Gambia-China rosewood traffic uncovered unprecedented evidence on a series of major forest crimes.
Mukula Cartel
12/05/2019
In Zambia the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found that a handful of very high profile figures have apparently orchestrated and facilitated massive trafficking operations for years that are driving mukula rosewood trees to the edge of commercial extinction, devastating vulnerable forests and threatening communities’ livelihoods.

Recent Press Releases

Exposed: The Gambia’s Blood Wood Trafficking
06/03/2020
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)’s new report, Cashing-In On Chaos, conclusively establishes links between timber trafficking controlled by Senegalese armed rebels; the decade-long smuggling of an estimated 1.6 million trees from Senegal to The Gambia; and the illegal re-export of the disappearing rosewood trees to China, in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Some of EIA’s findings are featured in the BBC’s documentary The Trees That Bleed: How rosewood is smuggled from Senegal into Gambia, released in March 2020.
EIA looks forward to the release of an uncensored rosewood investigative report by the Ghanaian government
01/23/2020
EIA looks forward to the release of an uncensored rosewood investigative report by the Ghanaian government

Recent Videos

Mukula Cartel
12/05/2019
In Zambia the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found that a handful of very high profile figures have apparently orchestrated and facilitated massive trafficking operations for years that are driving mukula rosewood trees to the edge of commercial extinction, devastating vulnerable forests and threatening communities’ livelihoods
Raw Intelligence: GOCA
10/18/2019
Mr. Lu is the Secretary of the Association of Overseas Chinese in Gabon and a leading figure in the Forest Union of the Asian Industry in Gabon (UFIAG). He doesn’t miss an opportunity to publicly defend Chinese logging companies in Gabon, and to assert that these entrepreneurs operate with the best of intentions.
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