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ŠUMARSKI LIST 11-12/2011 str. 4     <-- 4 -->        PDF



When we announced in the last double issue of Forestry Journal all the activities facing the forestry profession
in the International Year of Forests, we also expressed our hope that the profession would take this
opportunity to introduce itself both to the world and home public in the best possible light.Croatia, at whose
proposal the UN declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests, organized a well attended photo exhibition
“The Forest in the Eye of the Forester”in the UN building in New York. We reported about the very positive
echoes of the exhibition in the last issue. During the past years, the forestry profession has hosted
numerous excursions, international scientific-specialist symposia, student exchanges and many other events
so as to bring the forestry profession closer to the world forestry public. The Croatian Forestry Society headquarters
and its branches, the Academy of Forestry Sciences, the company Hrvatske Šume, the Croatian
Chamber of Forestry and Wood Technology Engineers and the competent Ministry in particular have endeavoured
to present the forestry profession by staging a variety of organized events.

If we were to assess how all these activities were treated by the media, we would have to settle for badly or
poorly at best, naturally with some fine exceptions. For example, it is symptomatic that bold headlines and
longer forestry-related articlesin the print media treatforestry issues only in the negative context, where
space is given only to some self-proclaimed experts wrapped in the cloak of interest groups. We do not claim
that there have been absolutely no faults in the management with state companies, but the mentioned texts
have primarily endorsed private business interest, demonstrated gross ignorance of how the forestry sector
functions (the sector of vital importance for the lives of people in rural areas), and most importantly, showed
neglect for general interest contained in non-market forest functions.Everything is subordinate to profit,
while the idea of concession on forests is repeatedly being emphasised. We expressed our opinion of this idea
in the editorial of Forestry Journal 1-2/2011; we also treated the type and mission of the state company: is it
a public corporation or private company?In the TV programme “At 2 on Sunday”, as part of their pre-election
campaigns the employers’representative and some political parties urgedthat the means for OKFŠ
(non-market forest functions) be revoked and that in the transitional period of 3 to 4 years, an identical
amount be paid as profit into the state budget by the state company.We fully support the abolition of certain
irrationalities in forest management and the practice of appointing politically acceptable cadres; at the
same time, we find it unjustifiableto talk only about profit and neglect the issue of sustainable management,
which requires investing into forests, financing forest management on karst, investing into fire prevention
and preservation of non-market forest functions, etc. The idea of profit only, shrouded in the motto of general
interest, in reality hides the wish to exonerate the private entrepreneurial sector from financing goods of general
benefit. True, this is a legitimate way of thinking, but in this case the local authorities should forget
about the annuities from forests which they are currently collecting, timber processing entrepreneurs should
likewise forget about their debts to forestry, absurd terms of payment and cheap raw material at dumped
pricesdictated by the state rather than by the market at the expense of forestry, and rural inhabitants should
cure themselves of treating a company as a social institution not only as regards employment but also as regards
all the other activities covered by a rural forest office. The state will eventually have to find a different
source of some 100 million kuna a year for fire prevention (currently provided by the company HrvatskeŠume), solve the problems of water fees and of financing forest management on karst, as well asensure that
private forest owners also pay into the budget. After all, the Forest Law is equally binding for all forest owners
and the Constitution stipulates that all forests are of special interest for the Republic of Croatia.

There is still no development strategy, which we already discussed in the Editorial of Forestry Journal
5–6/2011; in fact, not one political party has put this strategy on the agenda of their electoral programmes.
Forestry and the management with an immense national treasure that covers almost one half of continental
Croatia are mentioned only in passing. Yet, the Danube-Sava canal again features high despite the negative
opinion of the profession.

There are a number of topical issues, which the Croatian Forestry Society discusses at every Management
Board and Assembly meeting and tries to find the best solutions: surely, the profession deserves to be heard.

In the hope that the voice of the profession will be heededin the coming year, we wish all the readers of
Forestry Journal a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Successful 2012.

Editorial Board