Is felling trees in the forest a crime?

The subject of this entry is the issue of the crime of felling a tree in the forest (Article 290 of the Penal Code).

Who, in order to be appropriated, is allowed to cut down a tree in the forest, is liable as for theft.

The object of the executive action is a tree growing in the forest.

The object of the executive action is a tree growing in the forest.

The forest is defined as:

1) land with a compact surface of at least 0.10 ha, covered with forest vegetation (forest crops) – trees and shrubs and forest runes – or temporarily deprived of it:

  • intended for forestry production or
  • constituting a nature reserve, or being part of a national park, either
  • entered in the register of monuments,
  • connected with forest management, occupied for the needs of forest management: buildings and structures, water melioration devices, spatial division lines of the forest, forest roads, areas under power lines, forest nurseries, wood storage areas, as well as used for forest parking lots and tourist facilities.

If the logging is carried out outside the forest area, the act should be classified as theft (ie it should be classified under Article 278 § 1 of the Criminal Code).

By felling a tree, one should understand every disconnection from the ground to which it is attached by roots, in particular by cutting off the trunk, uprooting or excavating.

This offense can only be committed intentionally and with direct intent.

If the perpetrator has committed the felling of the tree or appropriated or stolen the tree cut down or felled, and the value of the tree does not exceed ¼ of the minimum remuneration for work, the act should be classified as an offense.

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the theft of a fallen tree with a value of at least ¼ of the minimum remuneration for work can not be classified under art. 290 § 1 of the Penal Code, because this provision does not provide for responsibility for the theft of a fallen tree ; such theft should therefore be qualified under art. 278 § 1 of the Criminal Code, in which the basic type of theft is provided for.

In the event of conviction for felling trees or for theft of a felled or knocked down tree (qualified under Article 278 § 1 of the Criminal Code), the court is obliged to award to the aggrieved party a value of double the value of the tree. The same duty should be imposed on the court in the event of the perpetrator’s act being considered an offense.

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