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Government official decries opposition’s ‘apocalyptic picture’ of govt forestry policy

The government's decision to cut the red tape on firewood production does not curb the authorities' control of the process, contrary to the "apocalyptic picture" painted by the opposition press and politicians, Peter Zambo, the state secretary for forestry and land affairs, said in the Blue Planet podcast on Monday.

Additional felling resulting from the amendment will mostly impact acacia trees, which have good heating quality, can be used quickly after felling and are not indigenous to Hungary, Zambo told former president Janos Ader, the podcast’s host.

While the amendment to forestry regulation is expected to result in about 1 million cubic metres of additional felling, Hungary has some 3.5 million cubic metres of acacia growing in non-protected areas, he said. The country currently has some 405 million cubic metres of living trees, growing on average by 13 million cubic metres every year, he said. Of that “green capital”, 6-8 million cubic metres are felled annually, so the “system has ample reserves”, Ader added.

The government eased firewood production regulations earlier this year in view of the looming energy crisis, and has decreed that firewood can only be taken out of the country with a permit. Forestry managers have been ordered to increase production.

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