Ministry of Agriculture Allocates CZK 15 Million To Prevent Drought In Czech Forests

In response to climate change and rising temperatures, the Czech Ministry of Agriculture has allocated CZK 15 million to measures to address drought in the country’s forests, by altering forest paths to allow water to run off in more places and not dry up. Researchers from Mendel University and the Czech University of Agriculture will be studying water retention around forest paths and finding ways to improve it. Photo Credit: KK / Brno Daily

Czech Republic, June 22 (BD) – Scientists from Mendel University and the Czech University of Agriculture will try to map the current situation of forests in the Czech Republic and propose new measures to prevent drought. The network of paths in Czech forests are used not only by tourists, but mainly by the forest owners and companies that manage them. Water runoff along the slopes is currently managed so that it does not interfere with trails. The water quickly drains into channels under the road into valleys. 

However, scientists studying the situation will propose alternative solutions, such as using infiltration devices. “That way the water would not be lost so quickly and would remain in the forest,” said Valerie Vranová of the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology at Mendel University. The current project is in response to a call from the Ministry of Agriculture, which is supporting the research with about CZK 15 million. 

“The motivation is to describe the impact of forest roads and other routes equipped with the proposed technologies on the water regime of the surrounding environment. The result will be technical recommendations for designing new structures or modifying existing ones for the forest transport network,” said Vranová. 

The researchers want to improve water storage in the soil and improve its distribution in the forest, and will study the response of trees and forest stands to the proposed structures. “If we modify water flow and propose, for example, infiltration instead of runoff, we need to confirm that the measures are functional for individual trees, groundwater levels and soil moisture,” Vranová said. Scientists will continue to study the suitability of different types of erosion control measures on other forest transport routes with regard to soil compaction by special forestry equipment.

“The basis will be a critical evaluation of different technical and biotechnical methods. The methods to be evaluated will include both methods of concentrated water retention from paved areas, currently used in urbanised areas, and long-term methods such as damming ravines and gullies,” Vranová added. The three-year project will last until the end of 2024.

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