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The National Assembly Passes Amendments to the Forestry Law and Ends Swaps of State Owned Lands and Forests
January 16, 2009

The amendments were passed at second reading on January 16, 2009. The changes end the practice of exchange of lands and forests belonging to the state with such owned by natural persons and private legal entities. This proposal was moved by the chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. The exchanges will only be possible when a joint state/municipal and private ownership has to be dismantled and for the purposes of infrastructure projects, undertaken by the state or the municipalities. The contract for the exchange should stipulate the construction deadline, which if not observed will void the contract and the land will be given back to its previous owner.

The amendments prohibit completely the exchanges of state lands and forests from the “protected zones”, listed in the Biological Diversity Law.

The State Forestry Agency is allowed to sell forests from the state fund and respectively buy for the fund, lands and forests belonging to private persons. The procedure for such trade foresees first a proposal made by the head of the Agency to the Council of Ministers. The next step is the approval of the CM, followed by an open bidding of prospective buyers. The deals will be advertised in at least two major daily newspapers. The amendments to the Forestry Law provide for mandatory changes in the Law on the Game Preservation and Hunting, where certain hunting arms won’t be allowed for use.
Amendments to the Law on the Ownership and Use of Agricultural Lands, forbidding exchanges of lands owned by the state or the municipalities with such belonging to natural persons and private legal entities were also discussed by the National Assembly and will be passed to vote next week. Again, the exchanges will only be permitted in order to terminate a joint ownership between the state and individuals or private legal entities, or when consolidation of lands is sought for.
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