Metla Project 3405

Analysis of the process of transition and recent developments in the forest sector in Central and Eastern European Countries and research priorities formulation

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Duration: 2005-2006   Keywords: forest policy, international forestry, wood procurement
Research project group: Distinct projects - Social impact of forests


Analysis of provisions of basic policy documents, national forest programmes, institutional and organizational set-up of the forest sector in selected CEECs (Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia) as a result of the transition process. Elaboration of a comparative study on the results of the transition process in selected CEECS and their comparison with the provisions of the Finnish National Forest Programme 2010 on sustainable forest management Identification of main lessons learned from the transition process and recommendations for knowledge transfer to countries, where the transition process has not been accomplished


Results of the transition period from the centrally planed to the market oriented economy in Central and Eastern European countries were analysed. The most important issues in accomplishment of the transition process successfully were identified as follows: Capacity building and institutional development in the non-state forest sector The position of forest owners associations in all new EU member countries was rather weak. Human and financial resources to provide their members sufficient services were insufficient. In some cases the state administration does not involve them appropriately into policy and legislative decision making process. Capacity building and institutional set-up in the state forest administration The reorientation of the state forest administration towards providing effective support to all stakeholders, including private forest owners, has not been fully completed, with the control function still predominating. Frequent changes of civil servants at all levels of the state administration were also a common symptom of the transition process, with negative influence on the efficiency of measures taken in policy, legislative and institutional development. Improving efficiency in forest management practices Forest management planning and practical forest management was based mainly on traditional principles not taking into account economic impacts of the measures proposed in the forest management plan. The involvement of forest owners in decision making process was weak. Balance of ecological, social and economic aspects of sustainable forest management Due to the traditional approach of forest managers to forest management practices, the economical and social impacts of measures taken in forests and forestry were not assessed adequately. Transformation of the forest sector also caused some social instability by reducing the staff in the public forest enterprises. Programs for retraining those foresters for the specific needs of management of non-state forests were missing. Implementation of innovative, efficient and more environmentally-friendly technologies Due to the insufficient investment capital for purchasing modern technology, contractors and private forest companies were forced to buy old redundant machines from state forest enterprises, not fulfilling requirements of nature protection and economical efficiency. Improvement of marketing and pricing skills Improvement of marketing and pricing skills of wood and non-wood forest products is needed, mainly in the private forest sector. This is directly connected to improvement in institutional and capacity building in private forestry, in the state administration, training and extension. Increasing investments in the forest industries Low efficiency in local forest industries influenced negatively the economic viability of sustainable forest management and development of the whole forest sector. Substantial share of the industries were producing products with low added value, mainly sawmilling products. Increasing investments in the infrastructure, information and communication technologies Investments in road construction and maintenance are needed. Modern harvesting technologies with onboard GIS/GPS systems require new information and communication system of the sector, including the private forest sector.

Results of the project were presented to the 33rd session of the FAO European Forestry Commission and to the work program of the Join UNECE/FAO Team of specialists on CIT.

Project leader: Ilavsky, Jan

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Updated 12.06.2012