Friends of the Earth will submit a plan for healthy forests to the Ministry of Agriculture later this month. Credit: KK / BD.

Prague, Sept 11 (CTK) – The Czech Republic is one of the European countries with the highest share of artificial forestation, the Friends of the Earth environmental group has warned today. The group added that artificial planting is a factor in the poor health of Czech forests, along with pollutants and inappropriate species composition.

Friends of the Earth will therefore submit a plan for healthy forests to the Ministry of Agriculture later this month. The plan would outline the changes needed to ensure that the Czech forest landscape is prepared for further warming and that its ecological and economic balance can be maintained.

“We must prevent the current opportunity from being squandered by the planting of more low-resilience forests, or even spruce monocultures, on hot woodlands that will be lost to drought. We need a plan for healthy forests,” said Jan Skalik, coordinator of the group’s Save the Forests campaign.

According to data from the Czech Statistical Office, published in the magazine Statistics and Us, some 40,000 hectares of forest were planted last year. This is 709 hectares less than the previous year, but is still the second highest figure since 1964.

The share of natural forestation reached 20% last year, an increase of 10.7% over the previous year. The available data also shows that this is the highest rate of natural forestation in the history of the Czech Republic.

Although the rate of natural forestation has been increasing in recent years, the proportion of artificially planted forests is still high. In 2015, 95% of Czech forests were restored by artificial planting of seeds or seedlings. The share of forests created by reforestation and planting is above 60% in eight European countries, also including Poland, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.

According to Friends of the Earth, the poor health of the Czech forests has long been undermined not only by pollutant emissions and inappropriate species composition, but also by the effects of artificial replanting, which leads to same-aged and species-poor vegetation prone to weakening and decay. Artificially planted forests also fail to effectively cope with climate change, the environmentalists said.

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