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ŠUMARSKI LIST 3-4/2012 str. 4     <-- 4 -->        PDF



One of the many definitions of a forest states that: "A forest
comprises forest soil coherently covered with forest trees,
shrubs and ground vegetation, where wood matter is permanently
produced and where non-market goods are expressed
in the ecological (protective), social and socio-ecophysiological
functions of a forest. A forest is characterized by harmony and
mutual relationships between the living community or biocoenosis
(plants, animals, microorganisms) and site (soil, climate,
relief)". Therefore, when we talk about forests, we talk about
air, water, climate, soil, landscape and plant and animal world.
Forestry is a science, profession and art of managing this highly
complex ecosystem to the benefit of mankind and nature.
Croatian forestry is proud of its 250 years of tradition in managing
forests according to the principle of sustainability, and of,
until recently justly declared harmony of education, science,
practice and even forest policies (competent ministry), united
in the Croatian Forestry Association. The result of this unity is
the exceptionally well preserved condition of Croatian forests.

In the past 10 years, however, with politics penetrating almost
all the pores of forestry, expertise and scientific know-how has
been increasingly neglected (to the point that the term "forestry"
has been deleted from the name of the ministry!). Unity
fostered for decades has been severely undermined. Here are
just a few examples: there are differing opinions related to the
construction of the Danube-Sava Canal, which seriously threatens
the survival of tbe Spačva forests (and about which the
competent bodies of the forestry operative remained silent);
next, there is no agreement in connection with the introducti on
of the Natura 2000 protection concept, which comprises large
forested areas, and the most productive continental stands in
particular. For the second time, politics has decided to cut
down on the means for OFKŠ (Non-Timber Forest Functions),
despite the well known fact that these funds are invested into
the sustenance of non-timber forest functions and forestry science.
Hence, all economic subjects, who are also keen users of
these functions, have the obligation to set aside the means for
this purpose. The Croatian Forestry Society has discussed many
topics of interest, including the worrying fact that the Forestry
Strategy is still lacking. There has also been talk about the new
Forest Law and about concessions on forests. Yet, professional
debates which would provide guidelines to the solution of forestry
problems and which would put a stop to speculation and
even to justified fears for forests and forestry, are nowhere to
be seen!

The fact that around 80% of the forests in terms of surface area
(and almost 90% in terms of value) are state-owned and that
they are managed by the company Hrvatske Šume Ltd, which
employs about 8,000 people, including a large number of
high ly qualified forestry experts, justifies the interest of the
profession in the policy of the new Management Board. Sadly,
we still have the impression that all is shrouded in a veil of secrecy;
we sometimes get a glimpse of things from an interview
in the press, or else some "directives leak out". Profit is a "must"
word – it is just that we are not sure that those in authority valorise
profit in forestry adequately; in other words, we fear that
they only value wood matter from the afore mentioned defi nition,
naturally, respecting the management plan, and not making
profit by not applying, e.g. silvicultural treatments, as has
been the case recently,instead of taking into account all the
other goods provided by a forest, which are far more important
and valuable. We hear about surplus workforce, while at
the same time "non-forest activities" will be put up for lease
(does this mean that forestry workers are not capable of retraining
and that private entrepreneurs have adequate specialist
workforce in excess?!). A part of surplus employees would
receive paid years of work, we assume, in order to "improve
the structure of the employed in relation to the retired". Th ere
are engineers who are employed part time for as many as three
consecutive years. Now, their contracts will be terminated despite
the fact that their profile is needed in production, which
is in stark collision with the proclaimed care for young experts.
If it is true that in future, according to the "directives", dedication
at work will be valorised with 65% and knowledge with
35%, then welcome to "Croatia – Land of Knowledge"! We have
given here some food for thought; naturally, there are many
more issues that need discussing, so it is only natural that we
require and expect answers and solutions. Still, we have the
impression that now politics is trying to save itself from itself
by increased politicisation.

Finally, let us mention a slight "transformation" of our
journal, which we have initiated with the goal of modernizing
its visual profile and achieving its even better positioning
among the current European and world scientifi c
and specialist publications. We hope that the changes will
be welcome and accepted. Naturally, we are open for further
improvements. The Editorial Board of Forestry Journal
wishes to retain fi rm contacts with its readers, especially
in the hard times awaiting us all.

Editorial Board