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Forest should not only look like forest, but in fact be a forest


Starting with understanding of forest, as an ecosystem that meets environmental, social and economic needs of the society, a three-day training for trainers on close to nature silviculture and multifunctional forest management has begun in Slovakian town of Presov, organized within the project “
Foresters towards life long learning for better forest management”.

Purpose of this seminar was to provide its participants with professional theoretical and practical knowledge of close to nature silviculture as well as gaining experience of conduction of theoretical and field classes on mentioned topics for further dissemination of this knowledge and experience among forestry practitioners, managers and scientists, participants of retraining courses as well as university students from respective field.

The training was attended by 12 Ukrainian forestry practitioners, managers and researchers, including: Mykola Cherniavsky and Ruslan Vytseha (National Forestry University of Ukraine), Andriy Myhal (Uzhgorod National University), Yuriy Shparyk (Ukrainian Research Institute of Mountain Forestry UkrRIMF), Vasyl Mochan (NNP "Zacharovanyi Kray"), Mykhailo Kviatkovskyi, Volodymyr Zvarych and Yuriy Tsolan (Transcarpathian Regional Forestry and Hunting Administration), Roman Potsihovych and Mykhailo Starchevsky (Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Forestry and Hunting Administration), Serhiy Bilanynets (Transcarpathian Forest Technical College in Khust) and Yuriy Derbal (NGO FORZA).

Within this first training module (second module is planned in the spring of next year) participants studied training materials and learned theoretical approaches and practical experience of Slovakian foresters on approaches of close to nature silviculture. Participants with the help of training materials (seven presentations and handouts) were able to realize the difference between close to the natural forest management method and traditional method based on age classes, and compare advantages of these methods for nature, society and economy. (All presentations will be available on the project site in a while)

During the first day of the training participants have discussed practical examples of silvicultural interventions in beech-fir young forests, 60 years small diameter stands and mature stands, carried out in order to create conditions and bring the existing structure of the forest stand to the target close to natural stands. Working with specially prepared worksheets were defining trees, which are to be removed from the above mentioned forest stand as well as defined grounds for such intervention. On the example of an existing 70-year-old beech-fir stand participants were able to determine the procedure and to acquire knowledge of its conversion in the next eighty years (at the age of 90, 110, 130 and 150 years).

The next day, during field part of the training, which took place in Kralovchik area of Hanushovce forestry, participants worded in one of the two sample plots, established within the project, where they got acquainted with approaches of close to nature silviculture in beech-oak stands with adding of sycamore, ash, elm, hornbeam and other species. With eight informational stands, set along a well designed route, all visitors of the demonstration plots have the opportunity to get acquainted with the principles and practices of close to nature silviculture and see its benefits, especially forest and environmental, directly in the stand. This route is also combined with educational ecological trail, thus enhancing the feeling of advantages of close to nature forest management.

At the demonstration plot participants were exposed to the results of various silvicultural interventions and the use of environmentally friendly equipment and technologies, - at one site - the state of the forest stand after using wheel tractor for skidding of wood, and on the other - after logging with cable system.

Directly at the control site of the demonstration plot, where all trees are numbered and their basic parameters defined, participants have been selecting trees to be removed from the stand, determining volume and intensity of intervention, needed to create the conditions for the formation of the target structure of the forest stand.

"For my work participation in the training and acquired knowledge provide good basis and opportunity to disseminate approaches of close to nature silviculture among forest enterprises of Zakarpattya during regular meetings with foresters practitioners, work in forest stands of  forest enterprises, and this will help their wider practical application" - said Volodymyr Zvarych in the discussion of practical training in the forest.

During the third day of the training participants got acquainted with usage of the principles of biological rationalization - the natural processes of reproduction of natural genetic structure of stands with the interaction of natural regeneration under the canopy of the mother tree stand (processes of self-regeneration, self-thinning, cleaning from branches), and also worked with the worksheets.

At the end of the workshop, participants reviewed and discussed the movie "Selective management of spruce-fir-beech forests in Smolnicka Osada".

The next training module will provide more detailed study of practical examples of close to nature silviculture in spruce-fir-beech forest stands, its economics, particularly comparison of the costs of forest regeneration within close to nature and traditional methods of forest management, as well as the practical steps needed for wider implementation of close to nature silviculture in forest management practices.

Note: The “Foresters towards lifelong learning for better forest management" project is implemented in the framework of Hungary - Slovakia - Romania - Ukraine European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013.
The project areas are Zakarpattia and Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts in Ukraine, Kosice and Presov regions in Slovakia. National Forest Centre (Zvolen) Carpathian Regional Training Center (Ivano-Frankivsk) and NGO Agency for Sustainable Development of the Carpathian region "FORZA" (Uzhgorod) are the partners who implement the project in Slovakia and Ukraine.