OFFICIAL NAME: Czech Republic
AREA: 78,865 km2
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Czech
POPULATION OF THE CAPITAL: 1,324,277
Czechia is a strategically located landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It sits astride some of the oldest and most significant land routes in Europe. The Czech Republic shares boundaries with Poland, Slovakia, Austria and Germany and has a total boundary length of 2,327 km (1,446 mi). The capital city of Czechia is Prague, located in the north central part of the country.
The Czech landscape exceedingly varies within its regions. From Bohemia in the west to Moravia in the east it comprises rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by mountains. The country’s highest point is Mt. Sněžka at 1,603 m (5,259 ft) in the Krkonoše Mountains along the north central border with Poland. The Elbe River is the nation’s longest with a distance of 1,154 km (717mi); located in the northwest and runs north into Germany.
Mr. Vojtěch Bašný
Department of Forest Policy and Economy
Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic
T: +420 221 814 500
CZECH FORESTRY – BASIC FIGURES
FOREST LAND AREA (2018): 2 673 392 ha
FORESTATION (2018): 33.95%
GROWING STOCK (2018): 702.887 mil m3
ANNUAL INCREMENT (2018): 22.3 mil m3
TOTAL ANNUAL TIMBER HARVEST (2018): 25.69 mil m3
The share of forests in the total area of Czechia ranks this country among the top in Europe. They cover evenly more than 33.9% of the state´s territory. Forest management is greatly diversified thanks to the fact that forests have apart from an economic and ecological function (for example water management) also an importance for recreational purposes. Forests are still a popular and searched for place of relaxation, sports and health.
The total area of forest land in Czechia has been constantly increasing. This is partly thanks to afforestation of new land, which exceeds the extent of conversion of forest land for other purposes, and partly thanks to the improvements as to the precision of data from the Land Register. In 2018, the forest land area increased in year-on year terms by 1733ha.
Individual categories of forests are distinguished by their prevailing functions. A slight but persistent increment in the category of special purpose forests may be observed (618 942 ha in 2018). Among other factors, this is caused by increasing demand of the society on non-wood forest functions. On the contrary, the production forests slightly declined in the past years – on 1 937 704 hectares in 2018. The total area of protection forests decreased again against 2017 by 245ha on 53 101 hectares.
Species composition of forests shows that the total area of main coniferous species (particularly spruce) further declined on 71.5% which means 1 862 445 hectares in 2018. In contrast, the share of broadleaves (particularly beech) has been augmenting on 27.3% which means 711 706 hectares in 2018 (national parks not included in the statistics). When assessing the species biodiversity of national forests, the overall proportion between individual tree species within an individual unit of spatial arrangement of forests has been continuously increasing in favour of mixed forest stands and forest stands with prevailing broadleaves. This increasing trend is a result of foresters’ permanent efforts to acquire an optimum species composition of forests, a practice that enjoys a long-term support under a goal-oriented national subsidy policy.
Compared to 1930, the total growing stock in Czech forests more than doubled. The factors contributing to the fact are a higher increment and more precise determination using new methods and instruments implemented in the 60’s and 70’s of the 20th century.
The total growing stock in Czech forests continued to extend also in the year 2018. This was thanks to a slight increase in stand stocking, an increase in the percentage of older stands. However, not all the stock is equally accessible for felling. The volume of felled timber in protection and special purpose forests is limited by fulfilment of protective functions or by special purpose management. In most cases, no felling operations may be carried out in forests with an increased protection regime, in nature reserves, and in first zones of national parks. The average growing stock per ha of forest land (i.e. growing stock on timber land including clear-cuts) is 270 m3.
Forest ownership structure shows that most forest land is owned by the state (54.88% in 2018) and is predominantly managed by Lesy České Republiky, s.p. (45.52%). Private entities (app. 19%) and municipalities (17.15%) represent other major forest owners, while the remaining types of ownership are rather marginal and statistically less signiﬁcant (less than 4.5% in each category, mainly less than 1%). More substantial modiﬁcations in the ownership structure are to come in the following years as a result of restitution of forest property to Churches.
(source: Information on Forests and Forestry in the Czech Republic by 2017 and 2018)
CZECH FOREST POLICY AND ECONOMY
CZECH FOREST POLICY
The concept of Czech forest policy is shaped by process initiated by the Pan-European Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) as well as by the EU Forestry Strategy and EU Forest Action Plan.
The main political document at the national level based on the MCPFE process is the National Forest Programme – a concept, by which the state defines its direction of forestry policy in the future. Its most important principles are sustainable forest management, administrative interventions of the state reduced to an inevitable minimum, motivation incentives of the government forest policy to support public interests, increasing responsibility of forest owners for their properties, a differentiated approach to forests according to the category, size and type of ownership.
The key part of Czech forest legislation is the Forest Act agreed on 1995. Its purpose is to determine conditions for the preservation, tending and regeneration of Czech forests, to enable the fulfillment of all their functions and to support sustainable forestry. Some of its main principles are reforestation, tending, protection, harvesting, torrent control and also forest management planning.
All Czech forests are covered by forest management plans or their equivalents. Forest management plans are dedicated to the owners of more than 50 hectares and it is an instrument usually processed for the period of 10 years. Binding provisions are maximum aggregate volume of felled timber, minimum share of soil-improving and reinforcing species for stand regeneration, minimum area of tending activities in stands of under 40 years of age (state and municipal forests). The plans are approved by forest state administration body. Forest management guidelines are dedicated to forest owners for less than 50 hectares. They are usually processed for a period of 10 years, processing is commissioned by a state forest administration body.
(source: Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic; the Forest Management Institute; Forest Act)
CZECH FOREST ECONOMY
The weather conditions in the last couple of years have been difficult for Czech forests – warm spring and summer seasons, temperatures strongly exceeded the average values each year and shortage of water in nature caused by persisting drought. These negative impacts of climate change resulted in the deterioration of the overall economic situation of forest owners – both state forest managers and communal and private forest owners.
This situation did not improve even in 2017 when the harvest was the highest due to salvage felling because of the bark beetle calamity.
Due to the surplus of mainly coniferous timber from calamities on the Czech market that exceeded the real capacity of processing capacities in Czechia, the export was increased in 2017 mainly to Austria and Germany. Due to the high offer of spruce roundwood and pulpwood for better prices, the production of wood-processing industry both in the Czech Republic and Austria and Germany experienced a recovery. Prices dropped further due to permanently growing offer of spruce raw timber offered by suppliers and forest owners. The export into EU-28 amounted to 98.6% out of the total export thereof 51.9% into Austria, 35.8% into Germany, 5.0% into Italy and 3.6% into Slovakia. Similarly, raw timber was imported mainly from EU-28 countries (89.7%) as follows: 34.6% from Slovakia, 31.7% from Poland and 13.3% from Germany. In 2018, the Czech timber in a total amount of 305 693 m3 was exported to China, mainly sawlongs of fir and spruce (200 000 m3 ,CN 44032310). The Czech wood-processing industry contributed to the growth of gross value added for agriculture, forestry, fishery, food making industry, wood-processing industry, paper industry and furniture production of 5.4% by 25%. In 2017 the supplies of roundwood for wood-processing companies, mainly for saw mills, were fairly good. The prices of spruce roundwood dropped dramatically by 22-24% per m3. Wood-processing companies succeeded in working in shifts as they hired foreign workers and they are creating conditions preventing the workers from leaving. They achieved all this by increasing salaries significantly up to the limit of economic sustainability and staying competitive. The market with wooden products has been growing over the past years. Both production, export and import but especially domestic consumption are growing in Czechia.
In 2018, the state allocated from State budget funds for the forestry sector total CZK 239,8 million under the obligations determined by the Forest Act. The stated partly covered the increased costs of planting the minimum number of soil improving and stabilising tree species of regenerated forest stands. The state also funded the activities of licensed forest managers who manage forests of up to 50 ha in case these did not contract their own licensed forest manager. The state also reimbursed the costs of forest management guidelines to forest owners who own a total forest area of up to 50 ha and do not have a forest management plan drawn up for their property. A significant amount was also granted to support measures relating to soil improvement and torrent control carried out upon a decision of a state forest administration body in the public interest.
The state provides services free of charge to help forest owners improve the standards of forest management and ensure forest protection against damaging agents. Within its consulting services, the state mainly supplies forest owners with up-to-date information concerning preventive protection of their forests and potential protective measures against damaging agents.
Support in form of subsidies granted for forest management and selected game management activities is provided from the state budget as well. Such subsidies are granted to forest owners, and to users of hunting grounds, owners of hunting dogs or owners of breeding stations of hunting birds of prey.
(source: Information on Forests and Forestry in the Czech Republic by 2017 and 2018; Market Statement of the Czech Republic 2018, UN Economic Commission for Europe, Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry)
INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK/CZECH FORESTRY INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS
The Ministry of Agriculture is a central state authority administrating forests, hunting, game management, and fishing outside the territory of national parks which are under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment.
The Forest Management Institute (FMI) is a government organization established by the Ministry of Agriculture and operates as a service institution of the Ministry. Its scope is nationwide, headquartered in Brandýs nad Labem. The biggest task of the Institute is implementing the National Forest Inventory (NFI). NFI is an independent survey on the state and development of forests. The aim of NFI is to provide comprehensive data on the state of forests in Czechia, both in terms of environmental sustainability and in terms of economic use. Czechia was included among the European states that NFI carried out over several decades.
Besides other things the FMI is further an authorized person pursuant to the Act No. 226/2013 Coll. on placing timber and timber products on the market. The FMI checks operators and provides for forest owners and managers support in the form of patterns of processing and due diligence manuals. The FMI play as well the role of the authorized person according to the Act No. 149/2003 Coll., on the marketing of forest reproductive material.
The FMI also maintains a central database with information about Czech forests, forest management and hunting.
Forest of the Czech Republic, State Enterprise (official name: Lesy České republiky, s.p., abbreviated as LČR) was established by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1992. The main goal of the company is to manage the state-owned forest estates and waterways and swift creeks. The headquarters is in Hradec Králové.
LČR forestry strategy is based on sustainable management of forests based on maximum use of the nature’s power that will provide for ongoing and balanced production in the entrusted forest. LČR aims at creating stable, high-quality forest with mixed tree species and with various spatial and age groups. Its economic priority is a balanced management, financing forestry activities from own resources and independence from state budget.
Forestry and Game Management Research Institute (FGMRI) is a public research institution based in Strnady. Its main task is a research activity to the extent of the Act no. 130/2002 Coll. on support of research and development from public funds. FGMRI promotes above all the research that is supported from public funds according to rules given by the law of the European Union. The prevailing part of FGMRI activities lies in a research focused on forest management as well as expertise and consulting services for state administration and forest owners.
The Institute of Forest Ecosystem Research (IFER) is an independent, private, research company founded in 2005. The core activity of the company is carrying out applied and basic research projects on forestry, forests and natural environment. IFER is based in a small town Jilove u Prahy, situated in vicinity of Prague.
During the time of its existence, IFER has solved more than 200 research projects funded by Czech, international or foreign institutions. IFER is able to work on tasks from the field of basic research either project oriented on practice and operations. Especially during the last years IFER solved more often projects focused on politics and decision-making (expert consultancy for public administration, ministries, international convention agendas etc.).
The centre of their activities lies in forestry on all its levels – forestry operation, forest management planning, monitoring of forest reserves, forestry politics and many more. In the long term IFER also deals with the question of global warming and related carbon monitoring and emission inventories.
The Czech University of Life Sciences Prague is a public university which celebrated its 110th anniversary in 2016. Currently the university has more than 18 000 students and 1700 employees.
Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences provides a comprehensive forestry education system to encourage and support rational forest management and sustainable utilization of its huge natural resources. In 2019 the Faculty celebrated the centenary of its existence. It is divided into nine departments, which cover the entire field of education, science, and cooperation with practice in the field of forestry and wood processing.
Mendel University in Brno (abbreviated to MENDELU) is a public institution situated in Brno with a long tradition of teaching and research. There are over 8,300 students at the university.
The Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology at Mendel University in Brno is concentrating on research and academic activities in the areas of arboristics, furniture design and furniture technology, forestry, landscaping, timber structures and wood building construction, wood technology and timber management and furniture design. The faculty mission is to facilitate education, to support scientific research and to nurture creative ecologically sound activities related to land, forests, wood and interior with an emphasis on ecology and aesthetics.
(Sources: official websites: the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic: http://eagri.cz/public/web/en/mze/; the Forest Management Institute: http://www.uhul.cz/home;tthe Forest of the Czech republic, state enterprise: https://lesycr.cz/en/; the Forestry and Game Management Institute: https://www.vulhm.cz/en/; the Institute of Forest Ecosystem Research: http://ifer.cz/?verze=en&page=home2&id=; Czech University of Life Sciences Prague: https://www.czu.cz/en/; the Mendel University in Brno: http://mendelu.cz/en/)
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