Cooperation between the two countries will help manage dangerous situations in forests. Photo Credit: Freepik.

Czech Republic, Sept. 9 (BD) – Czech and Austrian foresters will share information on the present situation on the two countries’ borders. Drought, wind, fire, and bark beetles recognize no borders, so quick intervention and risk control are critical. Given that some small forest owners lack basic forest knowledge, experts from Mendel University in Brno and others are developing a manual to deliver information about current and potential forest risks and to explain how forest owners should respond in the event of dangerous situations such as bark beetle disasters.

“Many small forest owners are not specialists and do not have the funds to hire professionals,” said Radek Pokorny of the MENDELU Institute of Forestry and Wood Technology. “They are frequently unaware of which subsidies they are entitled to, where to look for information on current and potential risks, and who to contact for advice and solutions.” 

Readers will be able to access the instructional manual later this year. Forest owners can learn how to plant species-, age-, and structure-rich forests while taking specific natural and climatic conditions into mind. The manual also compares the Czech Republic’s and Austria’s financial support regimes for forestry and forest management. In Austria, financial support is precisely targeted to solve specific problems, such as compensation for disaster-damaged forest properties, establishment of diversified and resilient forest, and forest fire prevention and control.

Austria has a different legal framework governing its forests. In Austria, all forests are under official supervision, and the authorities ensure that all administrative and legislative restrictions are followed. In the event that the forest owner fails to comply, the authorities have the authority to promptly execute all reasonable or necessary safety measures. Anyone who fails to follow the required forest protection measures and commits an infringement faces a fine of up to 7,270 euros or a sentence of up to four weeks in prison without conditions.

“The forestry manual will not be overloaded with general information, but will provide clear information and advice on prevention, acute steps and measures, and subsequent restoration based on habitat, tree species, most likely threat, and property size, as well as the financial and economic aspects of individual measures,” said Pokorny. “The manual is aimed to save users’ time, make it easier to search for problems and find answers, and provide advice for specific forest kinds or risks.”

The scientists are also working on a website that will enable forest owners to share information about current and potential threats with experts, as well as a network of demonstration and operational areas for forest conversion and reforestation that can be visited and consulted with local foresters if interested.

For several years, forest damage has been occurring in the Czech Republic and Austrian border areas. “This is a significant social and economic concern, as well as a challenge for forest owners and other relevant institutions,” added Pokorny. “During the problem-solving process, it became clear that those forest precautionary and disaster control measures are also borderless and will benefit forests on both sides of the border, along with the importance of forest crisis management in the future through more effective information exchange.”

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