Last year’s infestation of bark beetles was said to have been the biggest to hit Czech forests in 200 years. This year could prove even worse. Among those hard hit is Krkonoše National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site. Park officials estimate 20 percent more trees will need to be felled in the battle against the relentless bug.
The state-owned forestry company Česke Lesy saw a 70 million crown loss in
profit in 2018, down from 3.08 billion crowns the previous year.
The reason was a significant fall in the price of timber due to the bark-beetle calamity that has hit many areas of Bohemia and Moravia, which resulted in extensive logging.
Logging in infested areas was given top priority while other plans were shelved, which meant that the company mainly did business with lower quality timber.
České Lesy owns almost half of the forests in the country.
The current dry weather in the Czech Republic is facilitating the reproduction of the bark beetle, which destroys spruce trees. Indeed, the voracious insect began swarming a week earlier this year than in 2018, which saw the most costly bark beetle infestation in this part of the world for a full two centuries.
The Ministry of Agriculture as of April will have enhanced powers to
regulate timber harvesting and afforestation if necessary to minimize
damage by the ongoing bark beetle calamity.
President President Miloš Zeman signed into law an amendment to the Forestry Act, saying it has become clear that existing extraordinary measures are insufficient, his spokesman told the news agency ČTK.
The bark beetle infestation affecting spruce forests throughout the country in 2018 was said to have been the worst in the past 200 years.
Due to the ongoing infestation, the country’s largely coniferous forests are facing extensive felling of trees, which could negatively impact many animal species, including hawks and white-tailed eagles.
The state forestry company Lesy ČR said that around million cubic metres
of timber were damaged by the windstorm Eberhard that swept through Europe
Damaged trees represent around eight percent of the annual quota of felled trees with damages estimated at half a billion crowns.
The biggest calamity in the state-owned forests so far was caused by hurricane Kyrill in 2007, which devastated more than six million cubic metres of timber.
More than 250,000 cubic metres of timber was felled in the Šumava National Park in the south-west of the country this year, which is an increase by nearly 100 percent compared to 2017. Most of the trees, nearly 80 percent of the overall production, were felled by storms that hit the national park in the summer and autumn of 2017. Only 48,000 cubic metres of timber came from trees infested with bark beetle, which is more or less the same amount as last year.
A bark beetle infestation that has affected spruce forests throughout the
country – said to be the worst in the past 200 years – is likely to
double in 2019, acorrding to a forest management expert at the Ministry of
Due to the infestation, the Czech Republic’s largely coniferous forests are facing extensive felling of trees, which could negatively impact many animal species, including hawks and white-tailed eagles.
The ministry is calling for amending the Forestry Act and implementing a crisis plan.
The impact of global climate change in the Czech Republic can be felt more strongly than ever before, suggests a newly-released government report on the state of the Czech environment for the year 2017. One of the most pressing issues highlighted by the report is the alarming state of Czech forests.