Cut forest area in the southeastern region is expanding every day and none of the responsible institutions control the situation. In addition to subjects who have permission to use the forest every day to the forested areas run illegally inhabitants of the villages that do black trade with cut trees
By Dhorjela Çule
Forest massacre is expanding its metastasis throughout the southeast region of Korça. Forests in national parks and protected zone, state and local forests are thinned day by day as a result of indiscriminate cutting and lack of punitive measures. Trees of all kinds in the remote areas where residents are few continue to be in the center of attention of those who expect over the place, causing colossal damage. In addition to subjects which have permission to use the forest every day to the forested areas run illegally people with saw and axes to massacre the forest. After winter residents begin to create their own heat reserves for next year by not focusing only on personal consumption of forest wood because to the forest they see a profit opportunity. The cut surface is expanding every day more and more and also in the border villages of Greece, as Nikolice, Arrze, Sinice, residents except they speak for cutting of forests in the Albanian territory they claim that are overcoming by the neighboring state.
Notwithstanding any selective criterion for forest harvesting and oriented towards the black trading residents cut and transport with animals wood which further are sold illegally for 24 thousand old lek for cubic meter cubic. The mechanism is simple. Initially they cut trees of tens year that can be used not only for firewood but also for lumber. Trunks are cut off and all this pile they left for several days in the place where they cut until they start transporting with animals to the their houses. Conscious of the risk of fines, residents have found many different mechanisms to evade capture by the police starting with telephone signals alerts in the cases when in the village or in wooded areas have seen someone that is not from that the area and to excuses that are walking through the woods with the animals. For those who are more daring in the mountains also enter the tractors which these big piles of wood carry once and trade as desired.
Legally, the only danger that threatened residents who harvest timber without a permit, if caught in the act is to take an administrative measure, a fine ranging from 80 thousand to 100 thousand lek. A small criminal offense, but influential that you can easily discover bringing in any remote area.
There you can see evidence of the cutting and transport of forest, riparian leave ready for transport in areas not far apart, where human foot rarely tread. Forest could easily documented how important issues and dangerous is the destruction of this natural resource which is spread with rapidity. This activity has raised tensions between residents of different villages and areas, who do not worry about the damage they cause, but complain constantly that people from other villages in the forests go and expect that they regard as their own property. Those who complain, write letters, but that deforestation was happening look in their eyes, are village elders who alerted when someone enters the forests of their village and their mountain, while they and their children are the first forest pests. Already it is clear that from all this illegal activity in the forests have become a place to develop corruption, smuggling and environmental destruction.
Lack of capacity to protect forests in the region of Korca leaves open the path that they are vulnerable and targeted big profits. On the other hand, a strong punitive law makes these people not scared off by the state. In cases where they are caught by forest inspectors, cutting or transport wood, it is clear that they will be punished with a fine that never pay. Punishment provides a valuation of damage and a fine while after that they still continue their routine. While the Forest Inspectorate do the duty documenting the case which further refers to the relevant bodies, residents are left free. Once the file is on the prosecutor, the latter with the closing of the investigation exceeds file to the court file where in the highest percentage of cases issues are dismissed at the moment because people are caught by inspectors have declared to them false idendity. Fraud makes that residents often are caught more than once to cut and transport wood from the forest which makes them predisposed to not feel afraid of the power of the state and the law, so they cut wood without stopping.
From early 2014 onwards by the Inspectorate of Forestry and Environment are captured at least 14 people by cutting or transport wood more than twice, but the court in the same period results that have been convicted four people and were dismissed 37 cases because at the moment caught in the act they have declared false identity to the inspectors.
Forest specialists raise the alarm that if this situation continues southeast region will soon be a flat ground where the forest will be the existence of the past. According to them, despite planting new seedlings, necessity is finding other heating sources. The Albanian law has taxed every landowner, every resident village whether or not cultivate land, but strangely the private forest owners pay no taxes even though you can use the forest within certain criteria. Including a chain of institutions that must act to prevent and punish them that with axes and saws cut trees, competencies are broken shuffle by giving as full guarantee only failing to protect the forest and no person imprisoned for this crime to our natural resources.
This video was realized with the support of the Soros Foundation. The thoughts and opinions expressed in that belong to the authors and do not necessarily coincide with the views of the Soros Foundation
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