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IKEA is harming Romania's conservation forests

In 2015 IKEA bought large tracts of forest in Romania through INKA Investments SRL. Most of them are in Vrancea County, where the Penteleu Massif is also located. The furniture giant is thus Romania's largest private forest owner. According to an Agent Green report from 2021, IKEA pays little attention to good forest management and makes low demands on its employees and subcontractors working in the company's forests, damaging natural habitats and ecosystems, communities and protected natural areas.

April 2022 – we are in the Penteleu nature reserve in the Romanian Carpathians, a few hours' drive from the city of Brașov. In 2007, Penteleu was declared a nature protection area of European importance and has since been part of the Natura 2000 ecological network. There are still brown bears, wolves and otters here. But despite its ecological and cultural value, the Penteleu forest is threatened with destruction. In the middle of the Natura 2000 site, IKEA owns a forest of over 1500 hectares.

As soon as one enters the “IKEA forest”, large beech and spruce trunks lie along the roadside. The traces of devastation bear witness to the "progressive logging" currently practised. As a result, centuries-old forests can be replaced by young tree stands in a relatively short time – if regeneration takes place at all. All this is happening at the expense of the biodiversity, climate and cultural values of this natural heritage.

The nearby stream is completely filthy and only carries muddy water. The logging road, which has been dug two metres deep into the nearby slope without regard for the terrain, is also covered in knee-deep mud. Here, soil erosion is striking and actively promoted. Further up, we come across the stumps of mighty old spruces. On the trunks of still standing trees, there are strong drag marks. There is no question of low impact logging.

All this is happening in a national context where systematic timber overexploitation, illegal logging and corruption are widespread. Further information on this context can be found in the June issue of Tong Tana, the newsletter of the Bruno Manser Fonds. (available in French or German)

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