Forests in the Czech Republic are suffering. Frequent periods of prolonged draught have weakened trees, leaving them prone to harmful bark beetle infestation. Moreover, severe storms in recent months and years damaged large areas of woodland and foresters have had to cut down many more trees than the sawmills are able to process. As a result, the price of wood has now fallen to a half of what it was a year ago. Vít Pohanka met foresters and experts from several European countries at a seminar they held in Czechia.
Imported fir trees from Poland are taking an increasing share of the
Christmas tree market in the Czech Republic, forcing prices down, iDnes.cz
A representative of the Association of Christmas Tree Cultivators told the news website that large growers from Denmark had established new plantations in Poland some years back and the trees were now ready for sale.
Firs have long been the most popular Christmas trees in the Czech Republic, winning out over spruce and pine trees. However, if Czechs are keen to buy local the latter should be easier to find, iDnes.said.
The Moravian Amazon, an area along the lower parts of Morava and Dyje rivers in the southern part of the Czech Republic, is considered to be one of the richest habitats in Central Europe. But scientists are ringing alarm bells, warning that the number of old trees in the UNESCO Biosphere area which provide a home to rare species of beetles, are being crowded out and their numbers are rapidly declining.
The current hot and dry weather has created ideal conditions for the spread of the bark beetle, one of the biggest threats to the Czech Republic’s forests. Experts from the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences are now testing a new method involving sniffer dogs to detect the infestation in its early stages. I spoke to the dean of the faculty, Marek Turčáni, who is in charge of the project, and asked him how serious the beetle infestation is this year:
Thousands of people gathered on Prague`s Old Town Square on Saturday evening to watch the lighting of the traditional Christmas tree. The 22-metre spruce was felled in the region of Hradec Králové and will adorn the historic square until January 6. The tree-lighting ceremony also launched the city`s annual Christmas markets.
Czech scientists researching forests in Šumava National Park in the south of the country have recently discovered what is believed to be the Czech Republic’s oldest tree. The spruce, found near the lake of Plešné, witnessed the reign of Charles IV as a sapling, and is believed to have reached more than 600 years of age.
The bark-beetle infestation of forests in South Bohemia has one again worsened and the Šumava National Park is once again logging infested trees, Czech Television reported. According to the report around twenty trees a day are being cut down to prevent further infestation. The fight against bark beetle is complicated by the fact that private owners of forests neglect their duty to fell infested trees or refuse to do so because of the low price of wood, Czech Television said. Foresters in south Moravia have also reported growing problems with bark beetle infestation.
Lights on the traditional Christmas tree on Prague’s Old Town Square will be turned on Saturday, City Hall has revealed, but said the exact time would not be given to avoid large crowds. The decision was taken on Monday after a meeting with the emergency services. Last week, the media reported there would be no traditional ceremony at all following the recent attacks in Paris – something which organisers immediately denied.
Conservationists in the National Park Bohemian Switzerland in north of the country are busy these days collecting wild pears. While they might not be exactly tasty for people, they are an important source of nutrition for a number of forest animals. The national park conservationists are now trying to collect as many seeds as possible in an attempt to re-introduce the once common fruit variety back into the park’s forests.