Forestry and Hunting

FORESTRY AND HUNTING

AREA OF THE FOREST LAND FUND

The Forest Land Fund in Slovakia covers almost 40% of the overall territory of the country. Its area is increasing in the long term and represented 2.004 million ha in the year 2003.

Area of forests as of 31.12.2003 (ha)

Forest Land Fund Stand land used by Stand land in total
State-owned organisations Independent entities
2 004 226 1 185 971 743 339 1 929 310

WOOD MATTERS STRUCTURE OF FORESTS

Distribution of wood matter in Slovak forests is quite closely connected with the macro-relief of the territory. The lowlands and downs of southern and eastern Slovakia are wooded by broadleaved trees and mixed forests, with a dominance of coniferous trees prevailing in the mountains of central and northern Slovakia. The original structure of wood matter changed after the introduction of perennial farming. Representation of wood matter adapts to specific determined requirements so that all functions are optimally met. The requirement for a variety of forest stands is promoted in the long term. An adequate biodiversity considerably increases the static and ecological stability of forests. In the year 2003, coniferous wood matters were represented by 41% and broadleaved wood matters by 59 %. Target – prospective representation is 37 % of coniferous wood matters and 63 % of broadleaved wood matters.

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NATURE AND ITS PROTECTION

At present, 9 national parks (NP) have been established in the territory of Slovakia: TANAP, Pieninský NP, NP Nízke Tatry, NP Slovenský raj, NP Malá Fatra, NP Muránska planina, NP Poloniny, NP Veľká Fatra, NP Slovenský kras, with a total area of 317 890 ha. Slovakia has 14 protected landscape areas with a total area of 515 001 ha and 1093 small-area protected territories.

CULTIVATION AND PROTECTION OF FORESTS

At present, the trend of greening of cultivation activity is promoted and there is a more rigorous use of more natural cultivation methods, with emphasis put on adequate mixed stands, increased share of natural restoration, higher use of selective economic methods, mainly in protected forests and in forests of special designation. Forest restoration, treatment of young forest stands, protection of young forest stands, clearing and thinning of the forest belong among the main performances of cultivation activity.

Forest restoration was carried out on an area of 13 577 ha in the year 2003. Artificial restoration ranges from 70% up to 85% of total restoration. Treatment of young forest stands, which was performed on an area of 11 186 ha in the year 2003, also belongs among important indicators of cultivation activity. Within the framework of young forest stand protection, preventive protection measures are performed against weeds, protection measures against game, along with the fencing of cultures. Monitoring of stand hygiene, which includes the timely processing of dying and dead trees, remains from logging, epicentres affected by biotic factors and the like, is a permanent preventive measure in juvenescent and mature stands. These are mainly spruce stands, where the extremely dry and hot weather in the year 2003 and plenitude of seeds caused a weakening of the trees and, at the same time, created conditions for the spread of under-bark pests.

LOGGING

Logging in forests of the SR has fluctuated very greatly since the year 1980. From an amount of more than 5.8 mil m3 in the year 1980, its amount decreased below the level of 4.5 mil m3 in the years 1991 – 1993. In the following years, there was observed an increasing trend. In the year 2002, the amount was more than 6.2 mil m3 and in the year 2003 more than 6.6 mil m3.

OWNERSHIP BACKGROUNDS

Cultivation of forests is arranged at present by state-owned companies and organisation of the forest management founded or established by the state and the independent sector, which consists of private, shared ownership, church forests, forests of agricultural cooperatives and municipal forests. Forests of owners who have not taken over forests for various reasons, and these forests, administered by state-owned companies or organisation of the forestry management, as well as forests leased from independent entities, create a specific group. The structure of ownership and used land up to the end of the year 2003 is given in the following table (charts):

Entities Area of stand area (ha)
ownership use
State-owned 814 576 1 185 971
Private 231 259 113 968
Shared ownership 469 130 416 966
Church 61 430 40 188
Agricultural cooperatives 2 379 4 946
Municipal 186 519 167 271
Unknown 164 017 -
Total 1 929 310 1 929310

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HUNTING

There are approximately 1 778 hunting grounds in Slovakia. Of these 16 are independent game reserves, and 14 independent pheasantries. The average area per hunting grounds is 2 498 ha. The main types of field game are stag, fallow deer buck, moufflon, roe deer buck, wild boar and small game. The spring stock of these game species has increased in comparison with previous years. As an illustration of the situation, the following overview shows spring stocks of selected types of field game, their shooting, trapping and mortality rate in the year 2003.

Ungulates and Small Game in Slovakia

Game species Number of individuals
Spring stock Shooting Trapping Death loss Total Increase in number of game
Stag 38 030 11 899 20 1145 13 064 16
Fallow deer buck 7 501 1 811 120 178 2 109 102
Moufflon 8 317 2 094 219 129 2 442 60
Roe deer buck 83 756 17 995 0 2 775 20 770 23
Wild boar 28 779 2 059 71 508 2 638 34
Pheasant 204 856 92 714 0 22 881 115 595 110 432
Hare 219 450 15 319 6 488 6 337 28 144 576
Rabbit 524 17 0 81 98 586
Partridge 22 594 36 0 1 006 1 042 422
Wild duck 0 15 856 0 439 16 295 1 570
Wild turkey 108 74 0 58 132 152

The number of all our big beast types is increasing. With regard to other precious game species their numbers are increasing every year, with their hunting strictly regulated. The following overview shows the number of the individual game species, the permitted and actual hunt, and their decrease in the year 2003.

Rare Game Species In Slovakia

Game species Number of individuals
Spring stock Permitted hunt Actual hunt Mortality Total loss
Chamois 553 7 7 1 8
Bear 1 318 71 13 7 20
Wolf 973 0 112 3 115
Lynx 915 7 0 1 1
Wild cat 1 430 0 0 11 11
Otter 304 0 0 7 7
Capercaillie 1 596 0 0 3 3
Grouse 1 075 0 0 0 0
Hayel grouse 7 945 61 2 25 27
Marmot 1 031 0 0 0 0
Elk 5 0 0 0 0
Bison 13 0 0 0 0
Beaver 43 0 0 2 2

SLOVAK RARITY (BISON BONASUS) – BISON GAME PRESERVE IN TOPOĽČIANKY

The saving of the bison is a most important European success in the field of animal protection. Re-introduction of the Bison bonasus in Slovakia occurred in the year 1957 after the establishment of a breeding game preserve with an area of 27 ha near the town of Topoľčianky. There 13 individuals of this strictly protected species are living. So far, the game preserve has bred more than 70 bisons.

Bison belongs among the biggest European terrestrial mammal, and lives wild in the Caucasus and in the Polish Beskydy Mountains, from where it also migrates to our country. One family flock has lived in Bukovské vrchy for a long time. The bison is a representative of the bovine family and can reach a weight of 600-800 kg. Originally, it lived in prairie lands in Europe and Central Asia.