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Latest Articles

Development of European Union policy on forests and forestry before the European Green Deal
Rozwój polityki Unii Europejskiej w zakresie lasów i leśnictwa przed Europejskim Zielonym Ładem
Abstract: This article presents and analyses the evolution of the European Union’s forest policy prior to the adoption of the European Green Deal in 2019. We provide an overview of the main EU policy initiatives and documents related to forests and forestry up to 2018, based on a content analysis of policy documents and legal acts as well as literature on the subject. In the following sections, we discuss EU initiatives up to 1998, including the Thomas Report (1986), the first Forestry Strategy for the European Union (1998) and the EU Forest Action Plan (2006), the new EU Forest Strategy (2013), and the review of progress in implementing the new EU Forestry Strategy (2018). Our review illustrates the evolution in terms of forest policy formulation by the European Union. Although the EU treaties did not provide a legal basis for EU regulation on forest−related issues, numerous initiatives have been undertaken since the 1960s, initially under the Common Agricultural Policy. Increasing problems with the natural environment, linked mainly to the massive destruction of tropical rainforests and forest fires in the Mediterranean forests, and growing public awareness prompted the EU institutions to take a series of activities in the 1980s and 1990s that broadened the range of forest−related initiatives. As a result, the first EU Forestry Strategy was adopted in the form of a Council Resolution in 1998. Since the early 1990s, Member States and the EU institutions have been taking join action to develop a forest policy framework at the supranational level. Since the early 1990s, forest policy at European level has been supported to a large extent by the Forest Europe process where the European Union and all European countries are signatories), reflecting also global environmental agendas within the United Nations. Forest Europe and EU policies have influenced and complemented each other, and all of the above processes have been clearly reflected in EU policy objectives and actions.
Key words: CAP, forest−focused polices, forest−related policies, forest strategy
Materials for the Polish National Forest Program as the foundation for further analyses in the light of forest−related discourse in Polish media
Materiały do polskiego Narodowego Programu Leśnego jako podstawa dalszych analiz
Abstract: The balance between modern social desires like comfort and consumerism, and environmental responsibility has long been debated. Forests are crucial, providing resources, combating climate change, hosting biodiversity, and offering recreation and inspiration. To address these competing demands, Poland began a process of developing the National Forest Program (NFP) in 2013, aiming to redefine forest management to align social expectations with ecological health. This paper focuses on the semiotic analysis of the NFP recommendations, which were compared with social expectations obtained, among others, from the websites of social organizations, social media, and magazines. In this way, specific forest−related threads in social discourse were selected for further analyses resorting to qualitative semiotic methodology. Both in the recommendations to the National Forest Program and in the social discourse, the issue of public participation in the decision−making processes undertaken for the areas of the State Forests is present. Moreover, it was noted that, according to both experts and Internet users, the State Forests should be apolitical and the forest administration should not be dependent on election results. The current forest and related law is dispersed and inconsistent, therefore new legal solutions are needed. It is necessary to develop inter−sectoral strategies that create a framework for programs of cooperation between the forestry and nature conservation sectors. Analyzing social media, the authors found that the discussants were unaware of both nature issues and the principles of forest environment management, as well as they are characterized by a somewhat imaginary perception of nature. It should be assumed that public opinion has a direct impact on political decisions and legal changes, therefore further work on the NFP and reaching a social compromise is necessary. However, this should be achieved in a reasonable and sustainable way, based on the need to inform and convince the public opinion about the validity of activities undertaken in the forest environment by foresters.
Key words: forest law, forest stakeholders, multifunctional forestry, National Forest Program, social semiotics, state forest policy
Changes in groundwater levels in the Wielkopolski National Park
Zmiany stanów wody gruntowej na terenie Wielkopolskiego Parku Narodowego
Abstract: Groundwater levels are subject to cyclical changes associated with variations in meteorological conditions. Groundwater levels were measured between 2015 and 2022, at 17 sites placed throughout the Wielkopolski National Park (WPN). Using a numerical terrain model with a resolution of 5 m, topographic catchments were determined for each of the sites where the levels were measured. The topsoil cover is mainly composed of loose sands and weak loamy sands. Forest habitat types are dominated by mixed fresh forest and fresh forest. The average depths of the groundwater table for each site ranged from 0.89 m to 17.92 m below the land surface. The analyses carried out showed a gradual lowering of the groundwater table at all the analyzed sites. The average annual decline in groundwater levels, as determined by Sen’s estimator, ranged from 3.0 cm to 21.9 cm.
Key words: climate change, forests, groundwater level fluctuations, Wielkopolski National Park
Bringing back cattle grazing to abandoned farmlands. A lesson from silvopastoral ecological intensification in the landscape of the Carpathian foothills, SE Poland
Przywracanie wypasu bydła w opuszczonych gospodarstwach. Lekcja z sylwopastoralnej intensyfikacji ekologicznej w krajobrazie karpackiego pogórza południowo−wschodniej Polski
Abstract: Development of the modern, highly specialised and economically efficient, forestry in the 1700s has substantially changed the structural characteristics and dynamics of European woodlands. In particular, the ban on forest grazing that had been almost universally adopted throughout all Central Europe, unleashed the processes of development of shade−tolerant undergrowth, leading to the loss of semi−open woods and to functional, ecological, isolation of forests from the wider landscape context. In a separate development, due the recent socio−economic changes, scores of farmland have been abandoned, turning variegated countryside to feral landscapes, increasingly covered by woody vegetation. Although such changes are in line with recommendations focused on the climate issues, we believe that the ‘ecological intensification’ of the abandoned landscapes may provide more benefits than their permanent abandonment. In order to verify that intuition, we studied ecological features and silvopastoral benefits of a landscape unit in the Carpathian foothills of SE Poland, which, during the last twelve years has been grazed by cattle, let in after the former ten years since the agricultural abandonment. We provide the information on the landscape’s mosaic structure with regard to the habitats use by cattle. In addition, we investigated the animals’ reaction to the exposure of the local arboreal forage, of which the chemistry and nutritional values have been compared to those of the herbaceous one. As shown by the study, cattle can be used as a factor successfully preventing succession and sustaining the balance between wooded and non−wooded habitats. We revealed that the wood−pasture’s tree hay was very attractive to cattle, compensating deficits of the herbaceous fodder. Our study proved that the grazing herd of robust cattle breeds can turn a feral, post−agricultural land into a working wood−pasture, consisting of interconnected open grasslands and various facets of woodland, some of them missing in contemporary high forests. Such landscapes can provide multiple ecosystem services, scarce or absent in abandoned, overgrown farmlands. We advocate, therefore, for the transition management of abandoned farmlands towards the integrated silvopastoral land use, contributing to the land’s economic value and landscape’s ecosystem services, and the restoration of woodland’s characteristics, disappeared in contemporary forests.
Key words: agroforestry, Carpathian foothills, grazing ecology, land abandonment, semi−open woods, tree hay, woodpasture
Case study: The impact of changes in the environment of enterprises on the activity of forest service sector companies in 2019−2022 in the Regional Directorate of the State Forests in Zielona Góra
Wpływ zmian w otoczeniu na aktywność firm sektora usług leśnych w latach 2019−2022 na przykładzie RDLP w Zielonej Górze
Abstract: The environment of present enterprises is increasingly complex and changing. This also applies to the environment of companies in the forest service sector. The aim of the study was to assess the activity of companies providing services in the field of forest management in the area administered by the RDSF in Zielona Góra from 2019−2022 against the background of identified changes in the environment. In order to carry out the research, a database of enterprises was created. It consisted of entities listed as ‘contractors who submitted their offers’ in ‘notification of the best bid selection’ which were collected from the procedures of public procurement in the field of forestry (forest cultivation, forest protection including fire prevention, harvest and skidding of timber, soil preparation, nursery works and seed collection) for the years from 2020−2023. The database consisted of 172 firms that participated in 139 tender procedures in 20 forest districts. Based on the analysis of tenders for forest services, the activity of forest companies was assessed. The detailed analysis included the number of enterprises active in proceedings, the participation of companies in consortia (including the number and composition of consortia and the number of bids submitted by consortia), and companies acting individually in each year. Offers in proceedings for forest services in the RDSF in Zielona Góra from 2019−2022 were submitted by an average of 108 companies per year. It was observed that 81% of companies operated in consortia. The percentage share of offers on specialized suites submitted by individual companies exceeded the percentage share of offers on specialized suites submitted by consortia each year and accounted for an average of 62%. Factors with a key impact on the company’s development such as the introduction of pandemic restrictions, increases in fuel prices, increases in the number of suites, or the lack of non−price criteria in procedures for the award of contracts for forest services could have reduced the activity and changed the dynamics of cooperative activities of companies from the forest services sector. The reduction of the amount of work to be carried out within a single suite and the lack of non−price criteria may further reduce consortium activities.
Key words: enterprise, forest market, public procurement, tenders
Effect of stand characteristics and environmental factors on the volume increment of oak in Poland
Wpływ cech drzewostanu i czynników środowiskowych na przyrost miąższości dębu w Polsce
Abstract: Volume increment is a valuable indicator of the growth and performance of stands over time. It allows forest managers to assess forest productivity and indicate changes in growth conditions. In forestry practice, growth and productivity models can be developed by integrating volume increment data with environmental factors. The primary objective of this study was to develop a generalized additive model that would explain the influence of tree characteristics, climate and topography on oak volume increment. Our findings underscored the significant impact of basal area, age, height, and relative spacing index on the periodic annual volume increment (PAIv) of oak in Poland. We found that temperature, precipitation, slope and soil type within the study area also had significant effects on PAIv. The developed model explained approximately 43.8% of the variance of the PAIv. Notably, when applied to specific natural forest regions, the explanatory capacity of the model increased significantly, reaching around 64.4%. For smaller areas such as natural forest regions, PAIv was mainly determined by stand characteristics and less influenced by site factors such as slope and climate. This enhanced accuracy enhances its practical value and underscores its utility in distinct forest management contexts.
Key words: environmental effect, forest productivity, GAM, NFI, periodic volume increment