Climate instability, a constantly changing global timber market and an increasing social demand for nonproduction functions of forests put our forest management under big pressure. To be proactive means to reflect these growing challenges in our strategies of sustainable and multifunctional forest management. Currently, the Czech forestry sector once again explores the possibilities of a greater implementation of continuous cover forestry (CCF).
CCF means in our case to use selective principles and creative forces of the nature for the purpose of achieving a permanent and balanced income and, at the same time, satisfying the demand for nonproduction functions of the forests, for instance biodiversity conservation. In order to be able to objectively assess this process, it is necessary to compare various (commonly implemented) silvicultural strategies for the forest workers in typical operational and habitat conditions.
But where can we actually test these strategies? Therefore, Czech Republic has implemented a system of demonstration objects of forest management, mainly designated for learning and maintaining knowledge about particular forest management methods. This system is related to the idea of the Integrate Network since it applies the principles of sharing experience with particular management cases.
The aim of the demonstration objects is to allow for a comparison of various silvicultural systems from different perspectives – economic, environmental, and social – while respecting the given operational working procedures. The results from the demonstration objects allow forest owners to compare individual approaches and subsequently select a management system they consider the best. This process is based on the assumption that forest management, and especially silviculture as the main tool for influencing the forest stand development, can offer multiple alternatives for achieving sustainable forest management in concrete natural and social conditions.
Different demonstration objects united in one database
We as the Czech Forest Management Institute in Brandýs nad Labem have created an official database of demonstration sites. This database contains 3 types of “objects”– parks, objects, plots – which I will describe later. Many organizations have some types of demonstration objects, and as part of our cooperation we prepare with them a guidebook according to certain rules to be integrated into the database (and published online.)
Generally speaking, a demonstration object can be defined as an “area, location or facility used for the demonstration of forest management examples”. This definition can be applied at different scales. As a result, we have determined the following types of the forest management objects:
1) “Forestry parks” established pursuant to the approved standard (by Czech Ministry of Agriculture) are large-scale objects. It is possible however to create smaller demonstration objects within them. Three “forestry parks” have been established so far (Křivoklát Region, Bezděz Region, and Masaryk Forest in Křtiny). In 2017, cooperation between the forest parks and the “Dolní Morava Biosphere Reserve” resulted in the foundation of the “Model Forest Czech Republic” society as a neutral platform for sharing and spreading information and knowledge, and for supporting education, science and research.
2) The actual “Forest management demonstration objects” contain currently 39 objects, however, new ones are established and older ones updated every year. Objects should all have the same structure of guidebook. They require a map, a route, stops, description of stands and refence to accessibility and manager in the guide. Objects may be created on public as well as on private land, always with the consent of the given owner or manager. They have been established by various organizations and owners and usually consist of several management examples (stops) described in a field guide. Based on the importance and size of a given natural forest area, establishment of 1 to 3 demonstration plots per Natural Forest Area is considered. (As background information: The whole area of Czech Republic is divided into 41 Natural Forest Areas (NFA). In all NFA’s should be similar nature conditions and the Forest Management Institute produces plans for the NFA as bases for their forest planning and management.)
3) “Demonstration plots” are other special types of objects suitable for presentations to professional and, if applicable, laic audiences. They are not strictly defined, but should serve to education and be freely available. Demonstration plots can be completely independent of the previously described “Forest management demonstration objects” and, should the owners be interested, they can also be announced via our database and on the website of the Forest Management Institute).
The “Marteloscopes” (Integrate plots) on our database are presented under “demonstration plots”. Currently, we have six Marteloscopes in the Czech Republic right now. They are usually covered by main production tree species, such as spruce, pine, beech and oak. Two of the plots are located on the land managed by forestry secondary schools. All of the plots have been established in production forests, which means in common forest stands the forest personnel is familiar with. Apart from these six Marteloscopes, we also have so-called “Pro Silva demonstration plots” integrated in our website, where the results of continuous cover forestry is monitored in various forest types.
The database of all the demonstration objects is currently only in the Czech language. If you are interested in a particular object, you can download the given guide in PDF or you can contact the respective contact person. Demonstration objects are freely accessible, with a few exemptions (for example, arboretum). Most visitors usually come from the group of foresters and members of forestry organizations, however, even individuals can select an object based on the given trees or habitat and visit it.
This article was prepared by Ing. Lenka Lehnerová, Ph.D. (Forest Management Institute, Czech Republic). She also provided us with the images.