Representatives of forest owners, foresters, conservationists, academics and related industries have agreed on eight requirements to ensure the stability of domestic forests, maintaining their competitiveness and resilience. The platform for the amendment of the Forestry Act and its requirements is also supported by the MENDELU Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology and the School Forestry Enterprise Masarykův les Křtiny. The platform calls for the requirements to be included in the upcoming amendment to the Forestry Act by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic.
• Separate forestry authorities
The separation of state forestry administration from self-government by establishing independent forestry offices would bring about an improvement in the professional functioning and supervision of state forestry administration with an emphasis on advisory and educational activities, and significant financial savings in public budgets in the future. It will eliminate duplication in inspection activities in forestry. At present, the state supervision of forests in the Czech Republic falls ineffectively under both the Czech Ministry of Agriculture and the Czech Ministry of the Environment.
• A freer hand for forest owners
Reducing bureaucracy and devolving greater decision-making power will allow owners to manage forest flexibly, taking into account current needs and local conditions. It is necessary to reduce the binding provisions of the forest management plan and allow forest owners legal support to choose more diverse forms of management, which are associated with greater species, age and spatial diversity of forest stands.
• Extension of deadlines for afforestation of clear-cut areas and establishment of young forest stands
With regard to the huge diversity of affected areas after the bark beetle disaster, it is necessary to support greater use of natural regeneration of woody species, including preparatory woody species. It is therefore necessary to extend the period for replanting clear-cut areas from two to six years, and for establishing forest stands from seven to twelve years. This is the only way to achieve diverse and time-sustainable restoration of Czech forests and their adaptation to ongoing climate change.
• Support for voluntary associations of small forest owners
Legislative and financial support for voluntary associations, especially of owners of small forests, will enable more systematic and professional care of these forests, assistance to forest owners in dealing with calamities, purchasing seedlings, afforestation, marketing timber, etc. In practice, these associations will enable, e.g., the sharing of costs for equipment hire, labour or exchange of practical experience.
• Innovation of forestry practices, education and awareness
The amendment should improve the introduction of innovation and new knowledge of science into forestry practice with the help of educational projects selected through grant competition, lifelong education of forest owners and forest personnel, and forest pedagogy.
• Active prevention of damage caused by wild animals
We ask that owners of forests have the possibility of greater use of natural regeneration, extension of the deadlines for afforestation of clear-cut areas and establishment of forest stands, thus being able to use a wider range of fodder trees (birch, aspen, shrubs), which will help to solve the problem of damage caused by animals in the forest, especially in calamity areas. Next year, the Act on Hunting will bring further measures regarding game animals.
• Introduction of payment for ecosystem services
We ask that the law enables systematic support for the provision of ecosystem services. Providing these services entails high costs for forest owners, but these have not yet passed through to the market. It is necessary to define the concept of forest ecosystem services and establish the obligations of the owner in fulfilling these, as well as the legal right to payment for these services.
• Improving the environment in forests
Legislation should contribute to improvement of the natural environment by taking greater account of the requirements of nature conservation. The obligation to leave in the forest an adequate amount of logging residue and trees, or parts of trees, left to decay, at the discretion of the forest owner. The law should also now deal with the inclusion of forests featuring specially protected species of plants and animals in the category of forests of special purpose, and habitats of a steppe and forest-steppe character in the category of protective forests.
“The currently valid forestry legislation, dating from the early 1990s, is no longer capable of dealing with the dynamically changing conditions in forest ecosystems and the implementation of effective adaptation measures in response to climate change. Current scientific knowledge and research results show us, more and more, that diversification of management according to specific natural conditions develops greater stability and resilience in forests. The amendment to the Forestry Act, as proposed, brings greater liberalization to forest owners in the choice of management models, and thus the possibility to make greater use of the creative forces of nature for the benefit of biodiversity and society as a whole,” adds Tomáš Pospíšil from the Department of Forestry and Wood Technology Economics and Policy at FFWT MENDELU.
The common position of the Platform for amending the Forestry Act is supported by the following institutions:
Association of Municipal, Private and Church Forest Owners in the Czech Republic (SVOL)
Czech Union for Nature Conservation (ČSOP)
Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, Mendel University
Pro Silva Bohemica
Association of Forestry and Wood Processing Enterprises (ALDP)
Union of Employers in the Wood Processing Industry (SZDP)
Czech Forestry Society (ČLS)
Association of Private Agriculture (ASZ)
Contact persons for further information: Ing. Jiří Svoboda, chairman of SVOL, Tel: 603 281 254; Ing Tomáš Pospíšil, Department of Forestry and Wood Technology Economics and Policy FFWT MENDELU, Tel: 724 523 123, e-mail: email@example.com
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