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ŠUMARSKI LIST 5-6/2020 str. 9     <-- 9 -->        PDF

The negative media campaign directed against foresters, and particularly against the representatives of the company Croatian Forests Ltd, has been going on for several years and has gained in intensity in the past two years. It all escalated recently with the scandal concerning the wind power plant Krš-Pađene. The media rushed to smear individual and collective entities involved in the event. Based on impromptu analyses the company Croatian Forests was criticised for all kinds of things, including temporary non-payment of forest contributions to cities and municipalities (at the time when the state was at a complete standstill due to the coronavirus epidemics these earmarked funds could not be spent on the construction and maintenance of forest roads anyway), as well as raising a loan to boost the company’s liquidity. Namely, the company agreed to extend the payment period of the wood industry for the delivered raw material from 60 to 100 days from the date of issuing the invoice for all deliveries from the beginning of the year 2020.   Let us not even mention all those  remarks on the use of probably the most well-known parafiscal levy in Croatia related to non-market forest functions. There is not one entrepreneur or politician who has not requested the reduction or abolition of this levy as a way of helping the economy. Lay people are not even aware of the fact that the crisis plan of Croatian Forests envisages complete elimination of this form of financing forest management for 2020. At the time of the coronavirus crisis these are probably the best business moves aimed at preserving employment in the company, employment of the customers and suppliers, as well as the company’s liquidity. But who wants to read about this when negative news and scandals are much more interesting? Most people do not know either that at times of crises forestry has always taken care not only of  itself but also of others dependent on it. In all crises forestry has helped the wood industry, written off debts of various states and political systems reigning in these areas, but also borne the consequences of objective and subjective business risks of those working in the wood sector.
The power of the texts published on websites and social networks is enormous. They reach large numbers of readers in a very short time. The majority of the published texts feature bombastic headlines and sub headlines. Only when the whole text is read does it transpire what is the truth and what is not. Usually the content of an article is softened towards the end, but the whole article is read only by the most persevering reader, while the majority retain only the negative information from the headlines and the beginning of the text. Social networks are full of individuals and associations whose comments, often anonymous, create a negative image of the forestry profession. All these comments give an impression that foresters are one of the biggest problems of Our Beautiful Homeland.
Those better acquainted with the situation realize that forestry and agriculture are the pillars of survival in the remaining rural areas. Forestry, which is most represented in rural and less developed areas, provides a livelihood for employees of Croatian Forests, employees of numerous contractors in forestry and companies and crafts in the wood sector, and indirectly of all those who sell their products to wood companies. Forestry also guards and cares about the largest part of the ecological network in the Republic of Croatia. By protecting forests and forestland from fires in karst areas it forms an important link in the conservation of biodiversity in the state, but also creates a setting which helps the Croatian economic branch of particular interest - tourism. During the Homeland War it was forestry professionals who constructed roads needed to connect parts of the Republic of Croatia at the time when residents had to travel through neighbouring countries in order to reach their home country.
In our beloved homeland there are eight national parks and eleven nature parks in which forests constitute the basic phenomena. Basically, nature conservation has taken over the preserved areas for management from foresters. If these areas had not been managed according to forestry postulates and ecological considerations, we would not be able to boast of parks such as Plitvice Lakes, Risnjak, North Velebit and Mljet. In the karst part of Croatia, where the majority of protected parks are located, forests have never disappeared thanks to two and a half century long forest management. Present day generations do not know what forests looked like in earlier periods. The majority of the most valuable forests of pedunculate oak were completely cut down between the 1820s and 1920s. Today we witness the growth of new generations of managed forests, which are essentially the product of Croatian foresters. After World War Two the quantities of forests that were cut down almost equalled present day quantities because there were no other resources and the state needed the necessary financial means for rebuilding and renovation. Moreover, thanks to the wisdom and hard work of several generations of foresters, the present forest cover in Croatia amounts to 44 percent and forestland to 49 percent. Regrettably, most people do