We are devoted to regenerating forests

In an exclusive interview, Mr. Dorel Fechete, Executive Director of the Forest Administrators‘ Association, talks about forests, his organization and explains its involvement in the most ambitious reforestation project in Romania coming from the private sector — Tomorrow’s Forest

Mr. Fechete, where does your love for the forests come from?

It runs in my family, I think. I entered the field at 14, following in the footsteps of my father.  I graduated the Faculty of Forestry from Brașov and worked at forest districts in Tălmaciu and Săliște. I worked at all levels, planted, picked berries, I haven’t skipped any stage. When I got into the position to lead a forest district, to supervise the activity of people, it was easy to manage, both in the office and in the field. In 2002, I set up the private forest district “Valea Frumoasei” for the Săliște town hall. In 2004 I set up the Forest Administrators’ Association (FAA) and I’ve been its president until 2013 when I took on the position of Executive Director.

What is the FAA?

The FAA is an apolitical, non-profit, professional association, with a public utility status granted in 2015. Its members are 104 private forest districts, managing 1.5 million hectares of forest fund, owned by local administrative units (64%), legal persons (30%), and individuals (6%).

This is almost a quarter of Romania’s forests.

Yes. Apart from regular activities, we are devoted to regenerating the forest fund we manage. Each year we have two reforestation campaigns, in spring and autumn. Overall, we plant over 3,000 ha, we manage 3,500 ha of natural regenerating forests and we complete over 1,000 ha of previously planted areas. And just over a month ago we launched an important project, together with the University of Suceava and Holzindustrie Schweighofer. Tomorrow’s Forest will plant 1 million seedlings on areas with regeneration difficulties and will care for them for several years.

Why do we need this project, Tomorrow’s Forest?

Forest regeneration usually occurs naturally, without external interventions being needed. When this is not possible, the forest owners are required by the law to perform reforestations themselves. But there are cases in which the forest owners cannot afford the costs of these activities. Maybe they haven’t harvested any wood. Maybe they were retroceded areas with regeneration difficulties, or the areas were hit by natural disasters. The Tomorrow’s Forest project was created to assist all these private owners and local authorities to regenerate the forest areas they possess.

So people won’t have to pay for anything?

All planting and maintenance works are entirely covered by the project, so no investment is necessary from the owners, no.

Will the owners be able to choose what kind of forest they will have?

They will have healthy forests, as close as possible to the natural woods in the general area. By project design, only species required by the technical regulations will be planted, respecting all reforestation formulas. We intend to have vigorous forests on the areas in the future and that people helping in this project be able to enjoy the forests many years from now. Our main objective is to establish forests on areas with regenerating difficulties, belonging to owners with diminished resources, in such a way that the forests will grow strong and healthy. For this reason, the works will be performed with specialized companies, but also including as many volunteers as possible.

What should potential beneficiaries do next?

All the information is available on the project’s website, www.tomorrowsforest.ro. Interested owners can find there the general methodology and eligibility criteria and can contact us on the website, or directly through the personnel from state or private forest districts.