Continuous cover forest management by Pilisi Parkerdő Ltd.

with Nincs hozzászólás

Presentations and field visits within the framework of LIFE4OakForests project

The goal of the LIFE4OakForests project is to improve the naturalness of oak forests in poor ecological condition throughout Europe by developing conservation management methods to restore natural oak forests and their internal dynamics. Accordingly, the project was organized by varying nature conservation organizations. The project includes National Park Directorates, WWF Hungary, the Institute of Ecology and Botany of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, as well as the Association for the Protection and Tourism of Érmellék, and the Nature and Biodiversity Park of Emilia-Romagna in Italy, whch coordinates the project.

The results of the project are intended to be beneficial not only for experts in conservation management, but also for everyone who could help to achieve our goal to have natural and self-sustaining oak forest. Thus, the target audience includes students and teachers involved in forestry education, landowners, foresters, forestry professionals, and anyone else who is interested in the subject. Of course, this is part of our work to seek for possible cooperation with these people.

This is the reason why we contacted Pilisi Parkerdő Ltd. to present their continuous cover forest management practice of oak forest. This management regime greatly differs from the traditional, rotation forest management and it may resolve the conflicts between nature conservation and forest management.

The meeting was on 5-6 September 2019. During the meeting we heard presentations about the project objectives, about the activities in the Bükk- and Duna Ipoly National Parks, and we got to know more about the characteristics of continuous cover forest management at Pilisi Parkerdő Ltd. During continuous cover forest management the trees are harvested from a much smaller area at once compared to the rotation forest management, which is widely used in Hungary, . In a consequence there is no clear cut area, thus it ensures continuous forest cover.. This forest management regime is less destructive for the forest habitats compared to the rotation forest management and it secures continuous forestry management during climate change.

The method involves interventions primarily for a relatively small number of selected trees (so-called target trees), and there are no intensive management objectives in the area (although they may also carry out work to obtain an appropriate diameter distribution). As a result, the forest will have a mixed age and forest structure and the dead wood will remain due to natural processes.

Logging is not linked to the age of trees, but rather to achieve a certain diameter of trees (target diameter). Because each tree reaches the same size at different ages, therefore the trees are harvested at different times, which eventually results in multi-age stands in the forest. During the interventions, the trees that prevent the growth of selected trees (target trees) are harvested, which will be replaced by spontaneous regeneration of seedlings leading to a new generation of trees. Thus, in a few decades, a diverse forest structure is created on a small scale. This increases the diversity of habitats within the forest, which also increases the biodiversity of species of the forest.

Although the target diameter is determined from an economic point of view, it is typically reached between the ages of 160 and 180 (e.g., sessile oak – Quercus petraea), depending on the tree species. Continuous forestry management also enhance the multi-age structure of the forest by maintaining old trees, which are currently lacking due to the economic exploitation of forests. In addition, smaller set aside areas and so called biotope trees are marked , which are not affected by logging, thus contributing to the gradual increase of large, old trees and deadwood thus providing a diverse habitats for plants and animals .
This type of forestryis sensitive to the impact of large game species, just like in the case of natural habitats. Although the diverse forest structure resulting from the continuous cover forest management provides better food resources for large game species, which can also be beneficial to game hunters, it is important to acknowledge that oak regeneration cannot be secured without installing fences.

Of course, continuous cover forest management, as its name implies, is a form of forest management. To achieve nature conservation goals in many places additional measures are certainly needed. However, it is a very good starting point towards to a truly sustainable forestry. Pilisi Parkerdő Ltd., using its professional knowledge, took has taken the pioneering role of trying to provide a real answer to a real problem in terms of meeting the diverse requirements of forests. The Pilisi Parkerdő Ltd. took its first steps towards the continuous cover forest management when they adapted this management regime in Hungary and when they created suitable conditions to apply new methods, including the training of their colleagues. It is remarkable that they use this management regime in a significant part of their area, they constantly monitor the emerging problems and adjust the interventions as needed. This is the only way to find common solutions.
Several members of the National Park Directorates, Forestry Authorities and forestry enterprises took place on the two days field visit. . We gained many experiences, which will help us to work together for the forests in an efficient and respectful way.

The meeting took place on 5-6 September 2019. Within the framework of the program, we heard presentations about the project objectives, activities in the Bükk- and Duna Ipoly National Parks, and got acquainted with the characteristics of permanent forest management at Pilisi Parkerdő Ltd. The trees are harvested from a much smaller area at the same time than the currently used traditional forestry in Hungary and, unlike the latter, there is no clear cutted area, thus practically ensuring continuous forest cover of each area. This, in addition to ensuring continuous revenue in the face of global warming due to climate change, is also less destructive for forest habitats.
The method involves interventions primarily for a relatively small number of selected trees (so-called target trees), and there are no intensive management objectives in the areas between selected target trees (although they may also carry out work to obtain an appropriate diameter distribution). As a result, the forest can remain much more homogenous and even as a result of natural processes, scattered deadwood may remain in the forest.
The yield of trees is not linked to their age, but to a certain diameter range (target diameter). Because each tree reaches the same size at different ages, they are harvested at different times, which eventually results in multi-age stands in the forest so treated. During the interventions, the trees that prevent the growth of selected trees (target trees) are harvested, which are replaced by spontaneous regeneration, which represent an entirely different generation. Thus, in a few decades, a diverse forest structure is created on a small scale. This increases the diversity of habitats within the forest, which also increases the biodiversity of the forest.

Although the target diameter is determined from an economic point of view, it is typically reached between the ages of 160 and 180 (e.g., sessile oak – Quercus petraea), depending on the tree species. That is, this method also increases multi-ages by maintaining old trees in the forest that are currently virtually unavailable due to the economic exploitation of forests. In addition, smaller set aside areas and biotypes per tree are identified, which are not affected by logging, thus contributing to the gradual increase of deadwood and the increase in the size of large, old, diverse habitats.
Another point of connection is that this type of forestry, like natural habitats, is sensitive to large game species. Although the diverse forest structure resulting from permanent forest management provides better nutrition for large game species, which can also be beneficial to game hunters, it is imperative to recognize in the current circumstances that oak regeneration cannot be secured without installing fences.
Of course, permanent forest management, as its name implies, is a form of forest management. In many places, additional measures are certainly needed to achieve nature conservation goals. However, it is a very good starting point towards to truly sustainable forestry. Pilisi Parkerdő Ltd. Has taken the pioneering role of trying to provide a real answer to a real problem (meeting the diverse requirements of forests) – using its professional knowledge. When it was willing to adapt a system already in operation elsewhere to the domestic conditions and to create the conditions for applying the new method – including retraining and training his own colleagues. It is remarkable that they operates this system for a significant part of their area, constantly monitoring problems and adjusting it as needed. This is the only way to find common solutions.
The two-day study tour was attended by staff from several National Park Directorates, forestry authorities and forestry enterprises. If everyone took home what we experienced here, we were closer to being able to work together for better forests in the future in an efficient and respectful way.

Leave a Reply