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How to counter illegal logging?

The nature protection organization WWF Bulgaria produced the mobile application Save the Forest that allows citizens to send illegal logging reports. It functions since 2020 and in the past few months over 50 reports of illegal activity in the woods or suspicions of irregular transportation of timber were submitted through it. Yana Barzova, the Forests expert of WWF Bulgaria presented the opportunities for civic activism in protecting forests. The app is for Android and can be downloaded from Google play store. With its help citizens can verify basic information about the ownership and type of the forest they are in and check the issued logging permits on the GIS platform.

Through access to the system of Executive Agency Forests one can also check the transport ticket of the trucks transporting timber. In this case the vehicle’s plate number should be inserted in Bulgarian language. In the occasion of suspicions of transportation of illegally logged timber, meaning there is no visible marking, or the quantity seems too large, or the type of timber is different, the citizens can search for information in the system and send a report. In emergency situations a complaint can be filed with 112 or a written report can be sent to EAF. Since the trucks are equipped with a GPS, they will be checked in the system with the submitted data. Oftentimes it is established that they lack a tracking device.

The reports should be sent to WWF Bulgaria or EAF. If you want to get feedback, you should leave your contact information. In order for the reports to be effective it is important that the phone shows the exact location and transfers the maximum possible exact information. Although the natural resources are becoming increasingly topical, and the popular interest in their protection is growing, collectability of sanctions is just in the range of 10-15%, which makes them feel helpless. The fear of aggression provoked by submitted reports remains a problem.