|The Slovak Republic with its forest cover of 40.8 % (1 998 283 ha) belongs to one of those European countries with the highest proportion of forests set against the overall country area. In European context only Scandinavian states of Finland (77%) and Sweden (69%) and Austria (46%) in Central Europe enjoy higher forest cover. Timber land (land intended for growing forest species) occupies 1 919 300 ha (96.05% of forest land fund).|
Proportion of broad-leaved and coniferous forests in the SR is as below:
|Mixed Oak-Beech forest||7.33|
|Mixed Beech-Oak forest||4.65|
|Robinia (Locust) forest||1.75|
|Mixed Spruce-Fir-Beech forest||14.13|
|Mixed Beech-Fir-Spruce forest||12.07|
Source: Lesoprojekt Zvolen
At the moment, trend in tree species representation favours higher percentage of broad-leaved species in forest ecosystems thus creating more favourable preconditions for achieving ecological stability of forest stands. More complex view on tree species representation is given in the statistics of stand type representation as this also reflects tree species mixture, combination and their spatial distribution.
Age structure of Slovak forests is not optimal and is being described as unbalanced. In 1997 regarding proportion of age categories in the Slovak forested areas, percentage of age categories 1-4 (forest stands between 1-40 years of age) is subnormal (30.52%), percentage of age categories 5-9 (forest stands between 41-90 years of age) is on the contrary higher than optimal percentage (50.93%). Older mature forest stands with age limit 91 and over (age category 10 and more) have proportion lower than optimal (18.55%).
Effective management and forest protection measures taking into consideration ecological aspects are made possible thanks to existing forest transport system (LDS) allowing optimal access to all forested areas. The most important component of LDS is forest haulage road system with its length of 20 625 km in 1998 (10.37 m per ha of forest land). Total length of skidding roads and lines was 15 172 km (7.63 m per ha).
In 1998, the total area of 11 842 ha . Abiotic harmful factors are considered to be principal causes of incidental felling. Range of damages caused by their activity in 1998 is as follows:
- 954.3 thousand m3
snow - 30.5 thousand m3
frost deposit - 29.2 thousand m3
forest fires - 6.4 thousand m3
drought - 120.8 thousand m3
Main biotic harmful
factors contributing to incidental felling:
bark - beetle species and woodworm - 524.7 thousand m3
leaf-eating and sucking insects - 10.4 thousand ha
rots - 9.6 thousand m3
tracheomycosis - 48.6 thousand m3
game - 0.706 thousand ha.
Other harmful factors contributing to forest damage are ambient air quality, grazing and tourism. In 1997 volume of timber damaged by ambient air quality reached 381 535 m3 in total. Out of this number spruce damage accounted for 79% , fir damage 16%, oak 2%, pine 2%. In comparison to 1996, total damages caused by ambient air quality are lower by 0.4%.
Monitoring plays an
important part in forest health statemonitoring.
In 1998, Forestry Research Institute (LVU Zvolen) carried out 11th
monitoring cycle within 16 x 16 km monitoring network including 11 permanent
monitoring sites. According to the monitoring results for 1998 (based on
damage levels and % of defoliation) 22% of trees fell into category 0 -
Healthy trees (0-10 % defoliation) and 78% of trees fell into the category
range 1-4 (11-100 % defoliation) out of which 32% of trees showed signs
of heavy damage. No % of trees were considered to be dying or already dead.