COMOROVA Forest – Constanţa County is removed from the forest regime by a decision of the Mangalia Local Council and then alienated and deforested. In order to understand how all this happened and if anything can be saved, I sent a series of interpellations to the responsible authorities.
The information and answers received are detailed below.
According to the Audit report on “The patrimonial situation of the forest fund in Romania, in the period 1990-2012” of the Romanian Court of Accounts (pages 24-26) :
”COMOROVA Forest, the only forest on the Romanian Black Sea coast and the most important scientifically important forest on the entire coast of this sea, was created by the efforts of 20 years (1890-1910) of foresters, under the patronage King CAROL I from state budget funds. The forest with an area of 855 ha was managed in the period 1890-1971 in forestry, successively by: Romanian Academy (1890-1930), Autonomous House of State Forests (1930-1933), Institute of Forestry Research and Management – ICAS (1933) -1948), Bucharest Regional Forest Exploitation (1948-1963), again ICAS (1963-1971).
The first great aggression on this forest was made during 1967-1968, when about 259 ha were removed from the forest and partially cleared for the construction of the resorts of Olympus, Neptune and Jupiter. Although by HCM no.574 / 1971 the remaining area was transferred to forest vegetation and given in the administration of the Central Economic Office of the Carpathians (OECC), the COMOROVA forest continued to be managed in forestry regime.
After 1971, from the management of the Carpathian Economic Office, 39 ha of forest were cleared, on which 26 ha of vines and 13 ha with greenhouses were arranged, and in 1981-1982 another 38 ha were cleared. forest and orchards with fruit trees.
The 1981 ICAS arrangement included COMOROVA Forest in FUNCTIONAL GROUP I (protection forests), Zone 4 b (forests around whale-climatic resorts of republican interest) status with which it was taken over in 1990 under the administration of the State Heritage Authority by its local structure Neptune Agroindustrial Enterprise (IAN).
In 1992, pursuant to GD 113/1992, the Neptun Agroindustrial Enterprise was transformed into SC OLIMPUS SA Mangalia, which, in 1996, cleared another 25 ha of forest, an area that was subsequently not afforested, thus remaining 519 ha. of the forest. Instead of transferring it again to the national forest fund, given the scientific value of this forest, the Government, by GD no. and after the appearance of Law no. 213/1998, it passed into its public property (GD no. 1025/2000).
By the Decision of the MANGALIA Local Council no. 136 / 28.11.2000, the surface of 298.76 ha from the COMOROVA forest was transferred from public property to private property of the Municipality of MANGALIA, and by the Decision of the Local Council no. 107 / 24.04.2003 “is approved definitive or temporary use of forest lands (from COMOROVA forest) in an area of 431.70 ha for purposes other than forestry (…) for the extension of the built-up area of Mangalia municipality “.
The fact that this forest was not subsequently included in the protected areas or in the “NATURA 2000” sites indicates the complicity with the real estate interests in the area.
The Real Estate Interests
In the period 2000-2005, COMOROVA Forest fell victim to real estate business through successive sales and resale of forested land / plots between legal entities and individuals or between individuals, each seeking to obtain a benefit from forest land transactions. As an example, we present the case when Mangalia City Hall, on February 8, 2003, sold to a company the surface of 8.5 ha of forest with the amount of 1.8 million lei payable in 4 installments. A year later, the company resold the land to a natural person in the amount of 2.2 million lei. The individual did not think too much and 5 months later he (re) sold the land to a real estate investment company for 29.8 million lei.
In 2001, starting from the measures and draft laws included / proposed in the Report of the commission of inquiry on the situation of the forest economy in Romania, approved by Decision no. 5/2000 of the Chamber of Deputies, some steps were taken by the Prefecture of Constanţa County, supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests, for the transfer of the COMOROVA forest from the administration of the Local Council of Mangalia municipality to the administration of the National Forests Authority, respectively from local private property to state public property.
In the motivation of this proposal, it was specified that Neptun Mangalia Forest (Comorova) is the only forest on the Romanian Black Sea coast, with a special role of climate protection, hygiene, recreation and forest research-experimentation in extreme conditions of Dobrogea steppe . As it is a public domain of national interest, it cannot be included in the category of forests of local interest.
Decrease through Estrangement
In the steps taken, it was shown that GD no. 113/1992 (invoked as legal regulation for the administration of COMOROVA forest by SC OLIMPUS SA Mangalia, respectively Mangalia City Hall) cannot remove the provisions of some organic laws (Law 18/1991 on land and Forestry Code approved by Law no. 26/1996) which stipulates that a forest of national interest cannot be managed by the local public administration. According to GD 113/1992 (art. 5 para. 1) belong to the public domain of communes and cities, forests which, according to the law or by their nature, are of local use or interest and have not been declared of national interest.
The steps taken were not final, so that the area covered with forest remaining in the private property of Mangalia Municipality continued to decrease mainly through estragement, which was done in 3 ways:
• concluding concession or association contracts with commercial companies, after which the sale with payment in installments was approved;
• sale of lots for the construction of “private clubs” under GF + 4;
• awarding, based on Law no. 10/2001, by mayoral decisions, of some lots to persons “abusively dispossessed” during 1945-1989, although this forest was never owned by individuals.
2012 – Only 395.25 ha of Forest Remain
In 2012, from COMOROVA Forest there were 395.25 ha of forest in the private property of Mangalia Municipality, an area that is not managed in forestry. Even if at present this forest area is not concessioned, there are no construction projects for tourist attractions, parks, etc. or litigation, remaining in the private property of Mangalia Municipality and outside the forest regime will inevitably lead to its total destruction.
Compared to the presented aspects and in view of the conservation and sustainable management of the national forest fund, it is necessary to identify legal solutions and perform by the competent institutions the necessary steps for the transfer of COMOROVA forest from the management of Mangalia to RNP-Romsilva, respectively from public property. local public property. ”
In order to find out more information about the Comorova Forest from Mangalia, Constanţa County and considering the latest press releases regarding the fact that 2.5 hectares of forest were cleared, we contacted Mangalia City Hall and the National Directorate of Forests Romsilva – Directorate Silvică Constanţa.
MANGALIA CITY HALL
Mangalia City Hall informed me that in May 2020 it issued two urbanism certificates for the land with a total area of 250,038 sqm (2.5 ha), on behalf of the owners of the land with no. cadastral 111718 and no. cadastral 109506, respectively for the named Fleancu Paulina and Fleancu Ion. Through the two certificates issued, the environmental point of view / opinion of the Environmental Protection Agency of Constanța was also requested.
The City Hall also informed me that the land mentioned above was part of the land with an area of 519 ha, forested land, removed from the forest fund, without constructions, public property of the state, under the administration of SC OLIMPUS SA which passed into / administration Local Council of Mangalia Municipality by GD no. 647 / 25.09.1998.
Out of the total surface of 519 ha, the surface of approximately 120 ha represents land in the private property of natural and / or legal persons, acquired through:
– reconstitution of the property right based on Law no. 18/1991 by issuing property titles
– provisions regarding restitution in kind in the form of land compensation (Law no. 10/2001)
– sale-purchase contracts
– through public tenders for the sale of land
– public tenders following forced executions
– exchange contracts concluded with the Local Council of Mangalia Municipality.
ROMSILVA NATIONAL FOREST DIRECTORATE – CONSTANȚA FORESTRY DIRECTORATE
The answer sent by the Romsilva National Forests Authority through the Constanța Forestry Department shows that it did not have requests for the development of the timber and did not issue exploitation permits for the 2.5 ha forest area. Moreover, she informed me that she has not concluded management contracts and does not have the competence to check the cutting of trees on any surface of this forest.
Regarding the record of legal and illegal logging requested by me by interpellation, she sent me the table below, mentioning that the National Directorate of Romsilva Forests through the Constanța Forestry Directorate keeps track of logs only from the forest fund managed by them.
|No.||Forest District||Volume of legally cut wood material (thousand cubic meters)||Volume of illegally cut wood material (thousand cubic meters)|
|2||Dunărea de Jos||16.2||14.9||12.3||0.1||0.60||0.05|
|Total DS Constanța||67.2||60.0||62.2||0.84||1.65||0.64|
In order to prevent the total deforestation and the remaining forest area from Comorova Forest, respectively the 395.25 ha forest, we also sent a set of interpellations to the Environmental Protection Agency Constanța, Bucharest Forest Guard, Constanța County Prefecture, Ministry of Water Environment and Forests.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY CONSTANŢA
The Agency for Environmental Protection of Constanța (A.P.M. Constanța) following the interpellation sent to me informed me that in the period 2017-2021 no requests of Mangalia City Hall for cutting healthy trees in Mangalia were identified. Also, A.P.M. Constanța, at the request of the Territorial Administrative Unit, Mangalia Municipality specifies that this year it issued the Decision of the classification stage no. 426 / 12.10.2021, for the Project “Carol I Municipal Park (Comorova Forest Development)”.
According to those transmitted by A.P.M. Constanța, Comorova Forest represents forest vegetation outside the national forest fund, and according to the General Urban Plan of Mangalia Municipality and the Local Urban Regulation, the land proposed for the development of Carol I Municipal Park is included in the green spaces area, functional subzone V1d – green spaces area and protected forests.
BUCHAREST FOREST GUARD
The situation of illegal logging in the Comorova Forest communicated by the Bucharest Forest Guard (BFG) is as follows:
|YEAR||ILLEGAL LOGGING||CONTRAVENTIONAL SANCTIONS|
|2018||3||6 contravention sanctions in the total amount of 16,500 lei|
BFG states in the answer issued for my interpellation that there is no evidence of illegally cut trees in 2018-2021. That is because Comorova Forest is classified as forest vegetation outside the national forest fund and is not subject to the provisions of the fund security regulations forestry that establishes the periodic examination of the surface with background checks. As a result of the notifications received during 2018-2021, the representatives of this Guard checked the reported aspects and concluded a number of 6 contravention reports for a volume of 4,888 m3.
According to the answer received, the Bucharest Forest Guard performed in Comorova Forest only 6 checks in the period 2018-2021.
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND FORESTS
The Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests informed me that the land areas in the Comorova Forest are in the private property of Mangalia City Hall and in the private property of individuals / legal entities. The Comorova Forest Corps is not included in the national forest fund. So is not subject to the forest regime and there is no forest management for the sustainable management of this area. Ensuring administration or security remains at the discretion of the owners.
INSTITUTION OF THE PREFECT – CONSTANȚA COUNTY
The Institution of the Prefect – Constanța County was also questioned regarding the factual situation of Comorova Forest. In December, she informed me that she had asked the City Hall of Mangalia for the legal status of the land with an area of 519 ha in Comorova Park and that she would return with an answer. Considering that until this date I was not answered my Interpellation regarding the situation of Comorova Forest, I returned to this institution.
I also mention that, based on the answer received from the Environmental Protection Agency of Constanța, I will send a return address in order to be communicated the Decision of the classification stage no. 426 / 12.10.2021, for the Project “Carol I Municipal Park (Comorova Forest Development)” and all the documents that formed the basis of this Decision.
- 12.03.2021: Interpellation addressed to the Romsilva National Forests Authority – Constanţa Forestry Department (read the document)
- 16.03.2021: Answer from the Romsilva National Forests Authority – Constanţa Forestry Department (read the document)
- 12.03.2021: Interpellation addressed to Mangalia City Hall (read the document)
- 26.03.2021: Answer from Mangalia City Hall (read the document)
- 04.11.2021: Interpellation addressed to the Institution of the Prefect – Constanța County (read the document)
- 08.12.2021: Answer from the Institution of the Prefect – Constanța County (read the document)
- 04.11.2021: Interpellation addressed to the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests (read the document)
- 09.12.2021: Response from the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests (read the document)
- 04.11.2021: Interpellation addressed to the Environmental Protection Agency Constanţa (read the document)
- 11.11.2021: Response from the Constanţa Environmental Protection Agency (read the document)
- 04.11.2021: Interpellation addressed to the Bucharest Forest Guard (read the document)
- 16.11.2021: Response from the Bucharest Forest Guard (read the document)