The proposed steps are intended to ensure the stability and resilience of forests. Photo credit: MENDELU.

Czech Republic, Nov 22 (BD) – Representatives of foresters, forest owners, conservationists, industry, and academics are calling for an amendment to the Forest Act that will contribute to the preservation of Czech forests. The Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology of MENDELU is part of the group, which has agreed on eight demands that it wants to see incorporated into the draft amendment from the Ministry of Agriculture. 

The proposed steps are intended to ensure the stability and resilience of forests. The platform for the amendment of the Forest Act proposes a reduction in bureaucracy, more decision-making powers to be granted to forest owners, and the creation of forest authorities to make state forest administration more efficient and save public budgets. 

Acceptance of the conditions would allow the use of more nature-friendly management methods. “Current scientific knowledge and research results increasingly show us that diversifying management according to specific natural conditions brings greater stability and resilience to forests,” explained Tomáš Pospíšil from the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology at MENDELU. “It is therefore necessary for the amendment to the Forest Act to bring greater liberalisation to forest owners in the choice of management models, and thus the possibility to make more use of the creative forces of nature for the benefit of biodiversity and society as a whole.” 

An overhead shot of a Czech forest. Photo credit: MENDELU.

 “Only by amending the law in time can we stop these irreversible changes. We therefore call on the Ministry of Agriculture to listen to our demands and incorporate them into the amendment as soon as possible. Otherwise, all forest functions, including recreational ones, are at risk of being disrupted,” said Jiří Svoboda, chairman of the Czech Association of Owners of Municipal, Private, and Church Forests. According to Svoboda, the state should provide financial support for environmentally friendly and nature-friendly forest restoration practices and strengthen innovations in forestry.

The biggest obstacle for foresters at present is too much legislative control. “Foresters have a fairly precise description of what to plant in the forest, in what proportion, and when. They have very few options for using natural regeneration or responding to changing habitat conditions caused by drought or rising temperatures.The state needs to control everything as much as possible, but nature cannot be tied down to limits and numbers,” Pospíšil said. 

The proposal will now be forwarded to the Ministry of Agriculture for more precise legislative wording. In addition to the MENDELU’s Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology and the Masaryk Forest School in Křtiny, the Platform for the Amendment of the Forest Act is also supported by the Czech Association of Owners of Municipal, Private, and Church Forests, the Czech Union of Nature Conservationists, Pro Silva Bohemica, the Association of Forestry and Wood Processing Enterprises, the Association of Wood Processing Industry Employers, the Czech Forestry Society, and the Association of Private Agriculture.

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