- Forest Management
Institutions associated with forestry
Apart from responsibilities for foreign trade and international economic relations, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MOFTER) is responsible for tasks and duties falling within the jurisdiction of the State of B&H, including defining policies and basic principles, coordinating activities and consolidating entity plans with those of international institutions in the areas of agriculture, energy, environmental protection, use of natural resources and tourism. Within MOFTER, Sector for agriculture, food, forestry and rural development exists, but regarding forestry issues it mainly deals with coordinating activities.
In entities, at all administrative-political levels, forestry is the responsibility of ministries for agriculture, water management and forestry (in some cases this is simply the Ministry of economy) while wood-processing industries (sawmilling, pulp and paper) in both entities are under the responsibility of ministries for industry, energy and mining. There is also a diﬀerence in terms of type of companies dealing with forestry (public companies established by cantonal authorities in FB&H and entity authorities in RS) and wood-processing industries (mainly private companies). According to the Article III. of the Constitution of B&H (Responsibilities of and relations between the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entities), the following maters are the responsibility of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina: foreign aﬀairs; foreign trade; customs and monetary policies; finances of the institutions and for the international obligations of B&H; immigration, refugee and asylum policy and regulations; international and inter-entity criminal law enforcement (including relations with Interpol); establishment and operation of common and international communications facilities; regulation of inter-entity transportation and air traffic control. In forestry, however, the Constitution of B&H transfers competences to entity level (FB&H and RS) and Brčko district. The institutions at the two entities and Brčko district levels are responsible for drafting and implementing forest policy and legislation. In the FB&H, these responsibilities are even more decentralized down to cantonal level. Part III. Of the Constitution of FB&H (Division of responsibilities between the Federation and the cantons) describes that the Federation (among other responsibilities) shall have exclusive responsibility for economic policy and land use policy at FB&H level, but both the Federation Government and the Cantons shall have responsibilities for environmental policy and use of natural resources. As appropriate, these responsibilities may be exercised jointly or separately, or by the Cantons as coordinated by the Federation Government. Table 3. shows the responsibilities of sub-sectors in B&H on the state level and in diﬀerent entities in the sectors of forestry, sawmilling, pulp & paper, bioenergy
Table 3. Responsibilities of sub-sectors in B&H at the state level and in diﬀerent entities (Forestry, sawmilling, pulp & paper, bioenergy)
The organization of the forestry sub-sector is a complex issue and diﬀers between the entities and Brčko district. In FB&H the ownership of the public forest resource rests with FB&H which transfers management rights to ten Cantons. The Cantons transfer these rights to Cantonal Forest Management Companies (only one in each canton), which are established in compliance with the Law on Forests from 2002. In seven cantons these Cantonal Forest Management Companies are established as 100 percent public companies owned by the Canton. The only exception is Canton 3 (Tuzla Canton), where the Cantonal Forest Management Company has been established as a joint stock company. This organization is not fully implemented in two cantons; in Canton 2 (Posavina Canton) – lowland area where forests play minor role and Canton 7 (Herzegovina-Neretva Canton) where some municipality-based companies are not integrated in existing Cantonal Forest Management Company. At the level of the Federation there is a Forestry Department within the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry with a unit responsible for legal matters (all aspects relating to forest law and related legislation) and an FB&H Forest Office (FFO) which deals with forestry development and support and has an overall monitoring role. At the Cantonal level, responsibility for forestry rests with the relevant Ministry within which there is a Cantonal Forest Office (CFO) whose main function is to control the activities of the cantonal forest management company and provide advice and support to private forest owners.
In Republic of Srpska, there is the Forestry Department within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, which is responsible for forests and forestry. The Forestry Council is a forum for high level discussion on forestry and forestry related issues and developments established under the Forest law 2008. It has nine members comprising representatives of the ministry, other state bodies, institutions and organizations which are related with forest sector, local communities, NGOs, forest owners and others. Public forest company ‘’Šume RS’’ manages the public forests in RS. It has a hierarchical organizational structure with headquarters, twenty six Forest Management Units (FMUs), a Research Development and Design Centre, which undertakes forest management planning, a Centre for Seedling Production and a Karst Management Centre. Each FMU has a sub account, although all financial ﬂows essentially go through the headquarters. The FMUs report to the headquarters and are managed on a Forest Management Area (FMA) basis, comprising a number of Forest Districts. In Brčko district, where forestry plays a subordinated role, there is the Department for Agriculture, Forestry and Water management. Within this Department, there is Sub-Department for Forestry and Water management dealing with the implementation of forest and game-management legislation, forest management planning and executing projects, forest protection and other public administrative issues. As the majority of forests are owned by private forest owners, there is no public forest company in Brčko District. Besides the above mentioned public forest companies, some public forests within the protected areas are managed by public institutions responsible for management of protected areas (e.g. National parks, protected landscapes etc.).
NGO sector includes several organizations dealing exclusively with forestry issues, and most of these organizations deal with ecological issues, which among other field include forestry as well. Although there are no many such organizations, it is necessary to mention those that deal with private forests’ owners joining, whose main objective is to improve the current condition and to protect private forests’ owners’ rights. Although there are some promising examples from countries in transition where forest associations helped to mobilize and organize private forest owners, they are still widely lacking in B&H. The Association of private forest owners “Naša Šuma” can be seen as an exception. It was established in 2006 in municipality of Čelinac (Republic of Srpska) with the mission to become a common voice of all private forest owners in B&H for gaining their rights and implementation of legislative obligations related to forest management. In addition, professional associations of forestry engineers are formed in both entities, but some of them should certainly be at a higher level (especially in the Republic of Srpska).
Organization of the forest sector in B&H is presented at Chart 2.
Chart 2. Organization of the forest sector in B&H
Employment in Forestry sector
Most of the employees engaged in forestry sector work in Public Forest Enterprise, and the total number of workers for the period between 2012-2015 (at the end of the year) is presented in Table 4.
Table 4. Number of employees in PFE in B&H, period 2012-2015
||Republic of Srpska
||Federation of B&H
||Index of change (%)
It is clear that the number of employees is constantly growing, although not drastically, and graphical presentation is given in the Chart 3.
Chart 3. Number of employees in Public Forest Enterprises in B&H, 2012-2015
Although there are variations, beside this number of about 9,500 employees, there are other employees in the sector of Forestry engaged in different institutions/organizations. Some of those are ministries (entity, cantonal and district level), inspection, Forest office (only in Federation of B&H), NGO sector, etc. but total number of employees in the sector of Forestry should not exceed 10,000 employees.
- Forest ownership
As shown earlier, forest land in B&H is predominantly publicly owned. Since data on the new NFI on this issue are still lacking (not published and therefore not publicly available), we have to build on the reported ratio of 80 percent public forests and 20 percent private forests with almost equal share in both entities RS and FB&H. The percentage of private forests is highest in the lowland areas where the forest coverage is the smallest, while state forests are located in areas with high forest cover. According to the constitutional set up of the country, the ownership of public forests rests with the two entities (FB&H and RS). As concerns the Cantons (in FB&H) and municipalities (in both entities), they have no ownership rights over public forests unless they are granted it in kind or buy it. In Brčko District, there are only a few thousand hectares of public forests managed by the public forest administration (Sub-Department for Forestry and Water management). Still, the term “state forests” is widely used to refer to public forests and it can be recognized in both official documents and day-to-day life.
Approximately, 2,2 million ha (2,186,300) or 81% is in state ownership, and more than half a million ha (523,500) or 19% is in private ownership. It is necessary to emphasize that the Second NFI is finished, but the results are not officially published yet, so it can be expected that the total area of private forests is larger (some estimates are more than 30% of forest and forest land area).
Dynamic change in the proportion of the forest ownership
Agrarian reform in the former Yugoslavia in 1945. limited the ownership of private forests to 8-30 ha, depending on the type of terrain. Although it is generally considered that the agrarian reform had a very strong impact on private land ownership in the former Yugoslavia, the land nationalization process inﬂuenced mainly private agricultural properties, while the greater part of private forest estates, due to constant inheritance, was already below the prescribed maximum of 8–30 ha. Since the 1990s, processes such as privatization, denationalization and restitution, have qualified the issue of private land ownership at the top of public policy debates. Although ownership restitution is not yet completed in B&H, the comparison of forest inventory results conducted by the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (1880–1885) with the current area of private forests in B&H, indicates that the share of private forests will probably not significantly increase as a result of the restitution process.
Greater changes in the proportion of the forest ownership can be expected if the abandoned private land, which was naturally reforested, should be officially defined as forest in the land register. This process is very slow, and greater changes are not expected in near future.
- Forestry policy
The regulatory framework in B&H is complex, and poses a major issue when addressing the needs for adaptive and participatory forest management.
As shown earlier, the sector is organized on the entity level. As regards forest legislation this entails:
- Main strategic document in the Republic of Srpska is Forestry Development Strategy 2011-2021. It provides overall strategic framework for conducting policy matters related to the management of state and private forests and forest land in the Republic of Srpska. According to the Law on Forests, this Strategy represents the basis for creating the Forestry program of the Republic of Srpska.
- The Republic of Srpska’s Law on Forests (Official Gazette of the RS no. 75/08 from 2008) provides the overall framework and is supported by a series of 32 regulations adopted during 2009–2010. relating to timber sales and technical norms of forest management. This Law was revised in 2013 (Official Gazette of the RS no. 60/13), and it is still in force.
- In Federation of B&H, preparation for the development of a strategic document National Forest Program (NFP) is completed, but this strategic document is not in force yet.
- Based on the Decision by the Constitutional Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina of 14 April 2009 (Official Gazette of the FB&H no. 36/09) Law on Forests (Official Gazette of the FB&H no. 20/02, 29/03 and 37/04) is no longer in force as of 27 November 2009. As a preliminary solution pending the adoption of the new law on forests, the Government of the FB&H adopted the Regulation on Forests (Official Gazette of the FB&H no. 83/09, 26/10, 33/10 and 38/10). As per the Decision of the Constitutional Court of FB&H no. U-28/10 of 23 March 2011 (Official Gazette of the FB&H no. 34/11), the Regulation on Forests should have been in force until 6 December 2011. Since the Regulation on Forests as of 6 December 2011 is no longer in application and as the Law on Forests hasn’t been adopted yet, the forest sector is legally unregulated at the level of FB&H.
- Brčko District adopted its own Forest Law in 2010. Based on its provisions, there are Forest management plans for public forests (owned by the District) and for private forests (both plans for the period 2007–2016).
Investigation and monitoring of forestry resources
At the level of the Federation there is a Forestry Department within the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry with a unit responsible for legal matters (all aspects relating to forest law and related legislation) and an FB&H Forest Office (FFO) which deals with forestry development and support and has an overall monitoring role. At the Cantonal level, responsibility for forestry rests with the relevant Ministry within which there is a Cantonal Forest Office (CFO) whose main function is to control the actives of the cantonal forest management company and provide advice and support to private forest owners. Also, in the FB&H exists Forest Inspection (FFI), which performs overall inspection services safeguarding the implementation of all actions relating to the law on forests within FB&H. Also, Cantonal Forest Inspection (CFI) forms part of the Cantonal Inspection Service. Their role is essentially the same as that of the FB&H Forest Inspection
In the Republic of Srpska, there is the Forestry Department within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, which is responsible for forests and forestry. Within this department, there is an organizational unit which is in charge of the control of forest users (PFE ‘’Šume RS’’). The Forest and Hunting Inspection (FHI)
was transferred from the MAFWM in 2005. to the General Inspection Service, which has a total of twelve Inspectorates. The FHI has six territorial divisions with a total of 17 inspectors. It carries out forest control measures for both public and privately owned forests based on ten year and annual forest management plans.