V4-1420: Assessment and optimization of planning and implementation of tending young forest in Slovenia

The decrease in the realization of planned silvicultural treatment (tending) and concurrent increase of regeneration fellings may lead to long term decrease of quality and stability of the private and state forest and at the same time its capability to provide the ecosystem services. In the period 1993-2011, the realization of planned tending measures was around 58 %. The decrease of tending activities was especially pronounced in private forests, where only one-third of planned tending was implemented. This decrease is, on the one hand, a result of socioeconomic changes and on the other hand, a result of the decline in the state subsidies for tending. The decrease in the realization of tending measures could also be attributed to the prevalence of continuous cover silvicultural systems used in Slovenia, where education of young forest is done mostly by the appropriate canopy cover. One of the demands, connected to the Slovenian state and European Union subsidies for tending is a need to separate between tending for increasing the profitability of the forest and the tending that strengthens and preserves long-term ecosystem services of the forest.

This project aimed to review existing tending standards and to develop a tending strategy, especially for damaged forests, since in February 2014, almost 400.000 ha of Slovenia forests were damaged by an ice storm. Practical cases have shown that the damage caused by irresponsible salvage activities could be greater than the harm caused by the storm. During the salvage, it is important that we give special attention to fine-tuning of salvage logging and biological restoration, processes of secondary succession, setting priorities and taking into account the recommendations of good practice in silviculture.

Our role in the project was to provide the needed support by the decisions about using natural regeneration versus planting in highly damaged younger stands. For that purpose, the secondary succession model ForestMAS has been used, which is based on Ellenberg ecological values. With the help of ForestMAS, the regeneration of damaged areas could be studied and thus help to evaluate the tending models.