Problem of Deforestation in Montenegro

Problem of Deforestation in Montenegro Sandžak PRESS

Montenegro must immediately begin institutionalizing efforts to enlarge its tree cover territory. The fires that have hit the coast in the last few decades, as well as the uncontrolled forest logging in the north, may call into question our commitment to sustainable development.

Although almost a third of the Montenegrin territory is under forest, nearly 2.1 percent of forests (13,000 hectares) have been irretrievably lost from 2000 to 2016!

Since the beginning of humankind, all our communities have survived as long as they managed to use their natural resources sustainably. One of the largest living political anthropologists, Jared Diamond, believes that one, if not the most significant cause of the collapse of civilization, was the deforestation. The best example in favor of this claim is the example of a micro-community in the Easter Island that collapsed due to the overexploitation of timber that ultimately made forests disappear from the island. Very soon after the disappearance of wood, there was a lack of orderly life on the island, and finally, the island was abandoned entirely.

The wood material has been in the past and is today a primary asset used for household heating in the north. Montenegro has never been gasified, and electricity is costly, so people often used wood for this purpose. The wood industry was most developed in the northern city of Rožaje, where the company "Gornji Ibar" worked with over 2000 employees. At that time, nearly 100 thousand cubic meters of timber were exploited at the annual level. Today, about 60 thousand cubic meters are legally used, but the number of employees dropped to just several hundred.

The situation in which neighboring Albania banned the cutting of trees, has made Montenegro start with a stronger export of timber, although many countries prohibit similar practices. Montenegro briefly banned the export of timber in 2017, but it was continued very quickly under the pressure of the export lobby.

What we should do is to try to create and maintain the Fund for forestation of Montenegro, which will plan and implement restoring the tree covered spaces in the country. With the permanent actions and centralized efforts in a short period of time, we can revert the process.

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