- Posted May 27, 2012 by
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The Shocking Deforestation of the White Willow (Salix alba) Forests on the Danube’s Riverbanks © Nor
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
‘Romania’s forest’s are being chopped down at the alarming rate of three hectares per hour, according to a study published on Tuesday by the environmental organisation Greenpeace’ (Greenpeace raises alarm over Romania’s ravaged forests Posted on May 17, 2012).
On a photographic journey through the Danube Delta, in the South-East part of Romania, I came across a shocking phenomena: on one of Danube River’s old arms, the Macin arm or ‘the Old Danube’, hundreds of acres of White willow (Salix alba) forests were destroyed by violent deforestation.
Once a beautiful landscape, the river long wide strips of thousands of trees, cut only a few feet from the ground, looked like a graveyard of bare trunks.
The Danube Delta is a low alluvial plain, mostly covered by wetlands and water. It consists of an intricate pattern of marshes, channels, streamlets and lakes. Occasionally, the willow trees form corridors along the Danube’s arms and bigger channels.
Searching for an explanation for this devastation, I managed to find very little, if anything at all.
Despite the fact that the Danube Delta was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, repeated illegal and uncontrolled deforestation campaigns and projects have taken place in the region of Macin (Braila) region, since 2006 onwards.
The barren lower river’s floodplains left behind, upon undergoing an extensive drainage, are usually transformed into agricultural lands. But very often, they are just abandoned.
Support from outside the country has come from the heir to the British throne, the Prince of Wales, who has warned that Romania could end up with huge barren areas like the Highlands of Scotland or like parts of Canada that were also once covered by forest.
All is not lost, though. This spring, the seemingly dead trunks came back to life. I noticed lots of new, young green branches growing out, forming new crowns. In years to come, a new forest will replace the old one. Whatever the initial reason of destroying those forests was, nature found a solution. In the end, the deforestation led to a wonderful process of rejuvenation of thousands of willow trees.
… and this was the explanation I have given to myself by the end of the journey.
Wikipedia and various personal (journalists)
Greenpeace raises alarm over Romania’s ravaged forests (Posted on May 17, 2012)