Forest owners in the Czech Republic face damages of up to 40 million crowns this year from an escalating spread of bark beetle, suggests a report by the think-tank Czech Forest, an independent group of experts in the forestry sector. The report warns that in the future, bark beetle infestation could affect up to 50 percent of the country’s forests.
Activists from the Extinction Rebellion environmental group briefly blocked
the entrance to the Ministry for Regional Development on Prague’s Old
Town Square shortly before noon on Friday demanding that the government
reduce emissions from fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
The Ministry for Regional Development is represented in a government commission which will debate the gradual phasing out of coal mining and the country’s future energy mix. The activists argued that such a decision should be the result of a broad debate and consensus in society.
Another long-term drought could cost the Czech economy up to 80 billion crowns, equivalent to a drop of 1.6 percentage points in GDP, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Life Sciences warn that in order to conserve water for essential use, key industries would be forced to cut production, adding an exponential ripple effect to the surface-level economic impact.
New research by scientists from the Water, Soil and Landscape Centre at the
Czech University of Life Sciences suggests that another long-term spell of
drought would result in an CZK 80 billion contraction of the Czech economy.
Aside from financial effects, drought would also have an impact on
population health and the environment. At a press conference on Wednesday
the team suggested spending CZK 25 billion annually on preventative
Researchers presented two scenarios of how the economy could be impacted by further droughts.
One scenario envisions a 25 percent decrease in the productivity of industries, such as textile or paper production, which are dependent on water supplies. In this case the economy would face a production capability decline between 0.9 to 1.6 percent of GDP.
The second scenario, counts on a 50 percent decrease that would cut production down by 2.8 to 4.8 percent of GDP.
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.
Up 40,000 cubic meters of wood infested by bark beetles in the Krkonoše
National Park may need to be felled this year, about 20 percent more than
in 2018, a park official says.
The bark beetle infestation affecting spruce forests throughout the Czech Republic in 2018 was said to have been the worst in the past 200 years.
Due to the infestation, the country’s largely coniferous forests face extensive felling of trees, which could negatively impact many animal species, including hawks and white-tailed eagles.