2nd Regional conference of Private Forest Owners of Southeast Europe
On Auguste 27th 2014 in Zagreb was organized the Conference on Private Forests, which brought together more than 150 participants.
Participants of this leading international Conference urged the Government for greater promotion of sustainable forestmanagement.
Most of the participants are not satisfied with a very bad situation in this sector, and many highlited the lack of support by the competent institutions. The Conference mainly focused on the review of the situation in the private forests in Croatia and SEE region.
CONCLUSIONS / RECOMMENDATIONS
FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
It is necessary to emphasize the benefits of forest regarding the climate changes, particularly in reducing CO2 and its crucial role in the transition to a green economy.
NEED FOR COMPLIANCE WITH EU REGULATIONS AND PRACTICE
Policy management of private forests in Croatia and the region must be coordinated with the main strategic framework of the EU, especially with the new Forest Strategy that positions forestry in the EU as one of the important industries. Private forests in the EU, with 60 percent, is dominated and represent an important
segment of the economy.
PRIVATE FORESTS IN CROATIA ARE NEGLECTED
In Croatia the situation is in many ways more difficult, since there is no strategic framework, properties are fragmented, with frequent administrative changes which creates a very complex environment, confuses and demotivates, already rarely active, forest owners.
THE FREQUENT CRIME
Numerous economic, trade, consultant, political and media protagonists in different ways interpret possible development trends and determinants of private forestry, which deepens the crisis in the sector and creates a platform for frequent cases of crime and the devastation of forest properties.
ILLEGAL LOGGING IS IGNORED
Particularly worrying is the fact that most institutions declare themselves as “not in charged” and it is not clear who should initiate measures for the detection and punishment of the described problems, especially in rural areas. It is concerning that in some detected criminal activities participate also representatives of
the police or experts-foresters who are otherwise responsible for the legality and oversight of statutory procedures, transport and wood trade from private forests.
2/3 OF RAW MATERIAL IN GREY AREA
The activities of the Customs Administration in the identification and elimination of the described phenomenon are welcomed, because the majority of wood trade from private forests takes place outside the tax inspection, through direct trade with buyers with usually unknown destination of timber.
BETTER INFORMATION AND MAPPING IS NECESSARY – LAND REGISTRY BOOKS ARE INCONSISTENT!
It is proposed to launch a web interface for private forests. For that purpose, but also due to improvement of the general situation in private forests, it is proposed to start a mapping of forest ecosystems in private forests through national systems for the processing of agricultural data.
RURAL DEVELOPMENT IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT
Forests are more and more necessary for society, and the Government must support rural communities that depend on forests, since they cover large parts of the rural areas.
THE BUDGET FOR THE CONSOLIDATION NEEDS TO BE DEFINED
The development and adoption of rural development programs is welcomed with the proposals for some updates that should take into account the existing constraints in private forests, primarily securing funding for the consolidation of the forest estates as the main basis for a better and sustainable management of private forests.
Intense dynamic process of adoption and implementation of programs in 2015 is suggested, as well as increasing the share for private forests from the Fee for Forest Functions of General Benefit, which is now in a disproportion with the share of 22 percent for the forests of the Republic of Croatia. It is proposed that these funds should be intended for silviculture, fire protection and construction of forest roads, which actually is the basis of private forests management.
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