EUSTAFOR’s Executive Director Visits Lesy Slovenskej Republiky

On 8-11 August 2023, Executive Director Piotr Borkowski visited two regions of Lesy Slovenskej Republiky in Vihorlat and Šariš. The visit was hosted by the General Director Ing. Jan Marhefka, who offered in-depth explanations on the multitude and complexity of presented aspects.

The first part of the visit took place in the Forest District of Remetské Hámre and was guided by Ing. Martin Král, Head of the District and Ing. Matúš Hanko of the Directorate Vihorlat. Multiple aspects of forest management in mountainous areas were presented. Particular attention was given to nature conservation aspects in forests designated for recreational purposes of the local societies. New classification of protected areas, including designation and management approaches to the old-growth beech forests was discussed during the field excursion.

The second part of the visit took place in the Forest District Malcov of the regional branch Šariš. The presentation started with a visit to a new forest educational center that was created within an Interreg Poland – Slovakia project. The regional director Ing. Ján Andráš presented the region’s forests and the management challenges, which are related to both natural conditions caused by changing climate as well as posed by the ongoing socio-economic changes in the region. Urbanization of the local population and the development of tourism in mountainous areas create new demands on social and educational services, whereas the ongoing depopulation in remote areas leads to transformation of the landscape pattern. The latter requires active management approaches by state forest services to maintain the sylvo-pastoral ecosystems which are the remnants of extensive farming and grazing in the past. The field part of the visit was guided by Ing. Slavomír Hanko, head of the Forest District Malcov.

The visit also included meeting the local authorities of the Town of Bardejov, during which the importance of European cooperation through the implementation of Interreg projects was discussed. Lesy Slovenskej Republiky are active partners of such cooperation at local level.

The Executive Director’s visits to the member organizations are part of the statutory tasks of the Brussels Office and ensure that EUSTAFOR fulfills its role as both a platform for cooperation, and benchmarking for the state forest management organizations. These visits also make sure that the experiences of all members are dully taken into account in formulating EUSTAFOR’s positions on the current policy issues.

Published 06/10/2023, Brussels

Mr. Piotr Borkowski

Executive Director

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