In 2019, Slovenia celebrates 25 years of the Slovenia public forestry service, which is carried out by the Slovenia Forest Service and Slovenian Forestry Institute, and overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia. To commemorate this important jubilee, activities celebrating sustainable, multipurpose and close to nature forest management, e.g. the “Slovenian forestry school”, were organised during the whole year.
The highlights include the activities during the International Day of Forests 2019 (focusing on sustainable forest management and forest pedagogy), Slovenian Forest Week (last week of May, including its event, a celebrative Academy featuring important representatives from the Slovenian parliament, forestry organisations, forest owners, forest scientists, etc.), gathering of all Slovenian foresters in Pokljuka (July 2019) and the 30th Anniversary congress of ProSilva Europe (September 2019).
In the last 70 years, the state of Slovenian forests has improved significantly. The growing stock and annual increment has nearly tripled and consequently, the allowable cut has increased by nearly 40%.
Slovenian forestry goes hand in hand with nature conservation, illustrated by the fact that over 50% of forests are protected by Natura 2000. All forests, approx. 80% of which are privately owned, are included in forest management plans, which are prepared free of charge. Forest owners and other stakeholders have the right and possibility to participate in the forest management process during the public unveilings of forest management plans.
Forestry in Slovenia is characterised by cooperation between forest owners, the public forest service and forest visitors, as well as organizations and stakeholders operating in the forestry sector. Because forests provide a plethora of services to the whole society, forest owners are provided with free consulting and forest management support, subsidies through several schemes, safety training for forest work, support for associations of forest owners, etc.
Many events for the popularisation of forests and the activities of forest pedagogy for children are organised for the general public, schools and other interested parties by the public forest service. The public forest service also contributes significantly to the openness of forests through forest roads and the modernisation of forestry production, which is important from an economical, as well as occupational safety perspective – modern forestry equipment often saves lives.
Recent years have been characterised by natural disasters and forest pests. The ice break in 2014, which damaged more than 40% of Slovenian forests, as well as significant wind and bark beetle damages in the following years, put Slovenian forestry to a test, which was successfully passed – the growing stock and annual increment have been maintained.
Today, restoration of damaged forests is running at full speed, and at the same time, research and development activities are underway. Their results will help us keep forests in good condition, despite the further effects of globalization and climate change that await us in the future.