Firewood production remains sustainable in Hungary, the agriculture ministry said in a statement on Saturday. As part of the effort to combat the energy crisis, in a decree published on Thursday the government eased restrictions on felling, drawing criticism from opposition parties which said the measure undermined climate protection efforts.
In the statement, Agriculture Minister István Nagy said forestry was an important part of tackling the energy crisis. The measures will not entail clear-cutting, reducing the size of forested areas in Hungary, or harming their condition, he said.
In an effort to combat the energy crisis brought on by the war in Ukraine and Brussels sanctions, the government is working to ensure that people can use firewood instead of gas wherever possible, he said.
The government has banned the export of firewood from the country and instructed state foresters to increase production, and eased regulations to further facilitate that process.
“By the time the heating season arrives, there will be enough firewood on the market to satisfy demand,” the minister said.
Some two million hectares of forests yield some 3.5 million cubic meters of firewood every year when managed sustainably, Nagy said. “Wood is the only renewable energy source we have not been using to the maximum for decades,” he said.
The government is committed to the long-term sustainability of forestry in Hungary, Nagy said. With the new regulations, “the basic provisions of forestry and environmental protection laws that ensure the expanse and condition of Hungarian forests will not change at all,” he said.
Hungary currently runs one of the largest reforestation and tree-planting programmes in Europe, Nagy said. The government has supported the planting of new forests on 44,000 hectares in the past two years, he said.