- Forest Management
- Institutions associated with forestry
The central body that controls state administration in forestry is the Ministry of Agriculture. It revises the decisions made by the District Authorities and inspects their state administration in forestry. Currently Regional Authorities are created as the first level of state administrative organization.
The Ministry of Environment is the central body of state forest administration, game management and fisheries in the area of four National Parks covering a total area of approximately 120 000 hectares, which accounts for 1,5 % of the total surface of the Czech Republic. In addition to its responsibilities concerning National Parks, the Ministry of Environment has been enjoined by Forest Act (Act No.289/1995) with supreme state supervision of forest management in entire Czech Republic. The Ministry supervises how bodies of state administration, jurist and natural persons observe provisions of the Forest Act and related regulations. Carrying out of the duties of state supervision in forests, the Ministry co-operates with the Czech Environmental Inspection authority, which has a separate forest protection department, whose mission is to prevent and examine offences concerning the functioning of forests as an environmental component.
Forest Management Institute
Forest management began approximately 260 years ago and since that time offices of individual forest owners developed various management methods. The Forest Management Institute (FMI) was established in 1935. This institute refined forest management plans, executed real estates evaluation and land measuring and cartographic activities. Forest sites mapping started in 1941. Forest sites were characterised by forest communities, background for forest typology was established, and target species composition was defined for them. Forest management plans have been prepared and the systematic usage of computers was initiated in 1971. Thus, began the establishment of the information database. The institute was entrusted with creating a summary of forest management plans in five-year cycles. At the end of 1980s, employees of the institute developed a Czech GIS – TOPOLand mensurational programme.
After 1989 the FMI has been involved in the forest restitution process. In 1997, these duties and preparation of Forest Management Plans were transferred to private entities created mostly by former institute experts.
Nowadays the institute is responsible for executing forest inventory in the country, and elaboration and administration of Regional Plans of Forest Development (RPFD). Based on principles of sustainable forest management RPFD tries to minimise potential conflicts between the public and private owners` interests. These include the administration of information and data centres of forest management, execution of forest typological system, providing information services for forest certification. The National Certification Centre also provides support to organizations dealing with forest certification, e. g. the national governing body: PEFC (Pan European Forest Certification) Czech Republic). The FMI elaborates analyses, methodologies, layouts and prognosis and also is involved in domestic and international research projects as well as working in consultation activities.
Forestry and Game Management Research Institute
Previous to the political transition, research institutions were an integral part of the central planning system. Today state funding for forestry has steadily declined, and has not been supplemented from other sources. Numbers of personnel in forestry institutions have diminished due to decreased funding and lack of an appreciation for their results. Thus forest research has suffered and ongoing research tends to largely focus on classical scientific and technical topics that were in vogue during the previous era. As a result, research is not evolving to meet new social and economic needs emerging from ongoing privatisation. Forestry institutions, not only those doing research, are now facing competition from national and international sources and new forest owners, having many other problems, are not interested in funding research. Dwindling numbers of researchers are faced with increasing workloads. It seems that the worst problem is a lack of young people willing to do research under the current conditions.
In spite of problems FGMRI fulfils its main task of doing long term scientific research to improve forest management and ensuring that the results are put into forestry practice. Eighty years of forestry research was commemorated in 2001.
Conversely, the political changes have brought major benefits for forest research such as new possibilities for international contacts, participation in joint programs, exchange of information through personal contacts and access to the latest results and new technologies. Consequently, forestry researchers now have a better understanding of concepts and provide better tools for making sustainable forest management more profitable and acceptable.
As well, new opportunities have arisen such as the possibility to participate in the 6th Framework Program prepared by the EU.
Employees of the institutes mentioned above also fulfil follow-ups of the Ministerial Conferences on Protection of European Forests and other obligations resulted from international commitments.
Forests of the Czech Republic, State Enterprise
More than 1.4 million ha of the forest area are managed by the “Forests of the Czech Republic, state enterprise” (LCR), established in 1992. These forests contain a significant part of the former state forest property and include roughly 20,000 kilometres of streams. LCR is not bounded to the state budget and it fulfils the tax liabilities in the same way as any private subject. The new organization consists of 17 Regional Forest Districts, 87 Forest Districts (basic management unit), 6 Regional Administration of Streams, plus running a tree Seed Plant. Subcontractors (companies) carry out work on most of maintained forests. As a state company responsible for a significant share of activities in the public interest the LCR places major emphasis on the development of areas serving the public. The so called “Programme 2000” focuses on specific forestry-related functions activities and their completion.
Joint-stock companies, as private firms, are expected to offer the most recent skills when providing their services. Such companies are paid for their services, but they do not rent or own forest stands. They, together with other small business entities and companies, give a competitive environment to the forestry sector. Their work activities are done through contracts made with the LCR and the work must be done according to forest management plans for the corresponding area. A business contract is concluded for a specific period of time, usually two years and always for a specific area – so called contract area unit. The conditions for concluding this type of contract, which is confined to a specific ground unit and includes activities such as logging or silvicultural projects, is done via competitive bidding. The projects are processed and the Forest District pays for the finished work. The business contract includes the sale of lumber to companies on the “stump” site as well.
Besides the organizations mentioned above, many others are involved in forestry issues, both in the field of forestry and the environment. These include National Parks, Protected Landscape Areas Administrations, Nature and Landscape Protection Agency, Czech Ecological Institute, universities and schools with relevant orientation and professional associations (Association of Municipal and Private Forest Owners /SVOL/, Czech Forestry Society, Forestry Union, Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and the Forest Nursery Association). NGOs, involved in forestry related issues, which should be mentioned, include the National Forest Committee, PRO SILVA Bohemica, and the Rainbow Movement. Most of them have been consulted during the preparation of the National Forest Programme.
(2) Forestry employment
1The number of employees in forestry;
2The dynamic variation of the number of employees in forestry.
(3) Forest ownership
1The area and percentage of the forest ownership including private and sate owned and public forest;
2The dynamic change in the proportion of the forest ownership.
Most forest land is owned by the state and is predominantly managed by Lesy České Republiky. Private entities and municipalities represent other major forest owners, while the remaining forms of ownership are rather marginal and statistically less signiﬁcant. More substantial modiﬁcations in the ownership structure are to come in the following years as a result of restitution of forest property to Churches.
Privatisation of a small part of state forests is currently proposed as only a tool for integration of scattered holdings. A significant share of the state forests area is considered to be a stabilising factor, which will influence necessary improvements in air polluted areas, and timber market and social-economic relations in the country.
1A brief description of the Forest-related policies and laws
Conception of forestry in the Czech Republic proceeds from the so-called Pan-European process initiated by the MCPFE. The idea of sustainable development, as interpreted in Helsinki 1993, includes the principle of sustainable forest management. Another source for the concept analysis is “The Basic Principles of the State Forest Policy”, approved in May 1994. The amendment for “the pre-accession period to the EU” was adopted in 2000. Subsequent implementation of state forest policy targets is contained in the annual, state reports on Czech forestry.
Preservation of our forests for the future has become an ethical commitment of the present generation and the principal aim of current forest policy. The fact that forestry is a business activity and a part of an open, market oriented economy must also be recognised.
- Investigation and monitoring of forestry resources
National Forest Inventory (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 the Czech Republic, both in terms of environmental sustainability and in terms of economic use. The Czech Republic was included among the European states that NFI carried out over several decades.
NFI is based on mathematical-statistical basis, which allows an objective and independent assessment of the actual state and development of forests in the Czech Republic.
The implementation of the National Forest Inventory is enshrined in Article 28 of the Act No. 289/1995 Coll., on forests and on amendments to certain Acts (the Forest Act). Implementation of the first cycle NFI was approved by the Government Regulation No. 193/2000 Coll., and second cycle by the Regulation No. 247/2009 Coll.
Year 2014 is the last year of the implementation of the second cycle of NFI ground investigation. The results of this inventory were published in 2015.
Results of the first cycle of the National Forest Inventory are available in Czech-English publication of the National Forest Inventory of the Czech Republic in 2001 Introduction, methods, results. The Forest Management Institute has own representative in the European National Forest Inventories Network – ENFIN.
- Forest economics
(1) Forest contribution to GDP
1Gross added value of forestry, the country’s GDP and the share of forestry’s contribution;
In the year 2015, the Czech Republic recorded a year-on year growth in GDP by 4.3% at constant prices. The real GDP growth in the Czech Republic in 2015 was higher than both in the euro area1 (1.6%) and the entire EU 28 (1.9%). As stated by Eurostat, the Czech Republic reached 85% of the average GDP volume index per capita in the purchasing parity of the EU 28 in the year 2014.
(2) Forestry – related industrial chain
1Yield and output value of wood and non-wood forest products
The Czech Republic showed an increase of over one million m3, largely as a result of one new mill processing up to 1.0 million3 m of sawlogs.
In spite of the fact that the collection of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) is a very popular activity, there was no objective information about the importance of NWFPs in the Czech Republic before the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic and the Czech Ministry of Agriculture (Forestry Branch) funded a large investigation on the socio-economic importance of NWFP collection, which was launched in 1994.
The total average yearly value of the collected NWFPs reached about 2,700 million CZK (CZK 1 = US$ 0.028) for the period 1994 to 1996. This is a surprisingly high value, equivalent to between one-fourth and one-third of the timber sold annually in Czech markets in recent years (which varied from CZK 9,000 million to CZK 12,000 million from almost 2.6 million ha of forests -one-third of the Czech Republic’s area). The value of products collected from 1 ha of forest land reached on average CZK 1,100 yearly. The value of bilberries picked from 1 ha of a bilberry cover reached more than CZK 4,000, which is similar to the average value of timber extracted from 1 ha in an average year (CZK 4,000 to CZK 5,000). Bilberries cover almost 10 percent of total forest land in the Czech Republic.
The shadow net income for the population (based on the difference between market value and expenses) reached almost CZK 2,500 million per year. Shadow profits (the net of the cost of picking time and resulting forest damage) amounted to CZK 211 per hectare. By comparison, the profits from timber production were CZK 290 per hectare before taxes in 1995.
The figures given here do not overestimate the importance of forests and forestry as producers of NWFPs. Apart from the products discussed, people also collect and use free of charge other commodities on a large scale. For example, responses to the 1994 study indicated that 2.8 million kg (dry weight) of medicinal plants were collected, an important part of them in forests.
(3) Forest products import and export trade
Import volume, import value, export volume, export value for all woor and non-wood forest products since 2010 (or 2000)
Import and export values of forest products in Czech Republic in the year 2015 are presented in the tables below.