Bosnia says it will tighten controls over illegal logging ahead of the Christmas holiday, when the hunt for free yule logs and Christmas trees poses a threat to the country’s woodlands.
Bosnian authorities are increasing controls over illegal logging ahead of a holiday when many people traditionally cut down Christmas trees in the nearest area, whether or not the law allows them to do so.
“The fines are from 500 up to 1,500 euros and we will control it more in this period, and the result will be presented in January 2018,” Risto Maric, director of Sume Srpske, which manages forests in Republika Srpsa.
“It is hard to keep track all of those who will cut down trees for the holidays when it comes to individuals,” Maric admitted.
Ahead of the Christmas holiday, many people in Bosnia still simply go out to the nearest woods and cut down a tree for their home.
Since 53 per cent of the total area of Bosnia is under forest, Bosnians who want to ignore regulations and get a free tree can easily find a place to get one.
“Most of us are not aware of the damage that this behaviour causes, and I can only hope that state will find a way to resolve this; we also need to take care of it, no matter what the law says,” Radoje Borovic, an ecological activist.
In the 1990s, Christmas tree sellers usually followed a similar pattern; they cut down trees in nearby woods and then put them on sale without control or penalties. However this issue has now largely been resolved.
“Most of those who sell trees now have the required permits, but the problem is to track all of those who do this [cut down trees] for non-profit proposes; that situation is hard to control,” Dusanka Makivic, a spokesperson for the inspectorate of Republika Srpska.
In Bosnia’s Federation entity, there is no law on entity level when it comes to forests, which means that each of the ten cantons has its own regulations.