The aim of the paper is to present the results of a cost analysis for artificial and natural oak regeneration in selected forest districts in Poland. This research was conducted in six forest districts with a high share of natural oak regeneration, located in south-western and central Poland. Altogether 65 plots with artificial and 35 plots with natural regeneration were analysed based on the extent of silvicultural (weeding, blank-filling and pre-commercial thinning) and protective measures (chemical and mechanical wildlife damage control, fencing) performed on the regenerated areas for the six years following forest regeneration. An intensity ratio (i.e., a proportion of the area of measures to the area of forest regeneration) as well as the mean unit costs of the measures and mean costs of the measures per hectare of forest regeneration were calculated.
The results show that the total costs of silvicultural and protective measures in natural oak regeneration were considerably lower as compared to artificial regeneration. The cumulative average costs during 6 years (without costs of fencing) amounted to 1216 PLN/ ha and 6543 PLN/ha for natural and artificial regeneration respectively. Lower costs of natural oak regeneration resulted from the complete lack of expenditures on seedlings and planting, a considerably lower weeding intensity, scarce blank-filling, and the absence of mechanical wildlife damage control measures. Nonetheless, natural regeneration generated higher costs for pre-commercial thinning due to its higher intensity, earlier initiation, and higher unit costs compared to artificial regeneration, as well as chemical wildlife damage control measures, for which the unit costs were higher by over 50%. However, the higher costs of pre-commercial thinning and chemical control measures did not significantly affect the measurable financial benefits of natural regeneration.
In conclusion, the matter of financial viability of natural oak regeneration should be explored in more detail over longer time spans.
The Polish “National Forest Policy” was adopted by the Council of Ministers in April 1997 and since then no revisions of this document have been made. However, over the last two decades policy changes affecting forests and forestry have been implemented worldwide including Europe. Nonetheless, in more recent years, significant changes in social, economic, institutional, and legal aspects of forestry have also occurred in Poland.
This paper is the first of a series of five articles, which aim at highlighting necessary changes in the “National Forest Policy” following the achievements of European forest policy processes and trends in forest policy of selected European countries. The focus of the present paper are the most important European processes of forest policy formulation, in particular the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (Forest Europe process) as well as forest-focused and forest-related polices of the European Union. Included in this research are the Forest Europe resolutions as well as decisions and EU policies, strategies and legal acts in terms of the general objectives set for forests and forestry. The analysis focuses on the period 1997–2016, i.e. starting from the year the “National Forest Policy” has been adopted. The conclusions of this first paper are that in recent years, forests and forestry have been increasingly included in various sectoral policies of the European Union (environmental and biodiversity protection, climate, energy, agricultural polices), which requires the member states to revise and adjust their own forest-related regulations and policies.
The aim of this paper was to review and analyse the main forest policy documents in terms of the priorities formulated at the European level for Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany (federal level) and Brandenburg (federal state level), as well as Finland. A total of 14 documents was covered in this research, including national forest programmes and forest strategies implemented in the period from 1997 to 2017. In all of the studied countries, forest policy documents were periodically revised and updated to account for changing political, economic, social and environmental conditions. As a result, at some point during the examined 20-year period, in each country the forestry priorities and goals were defined by a national forest programme. Furthermore, the vast majority of the priorities set by the European forest policy was reflected in the programmes and strategies of all the countries. Certain priorities concerning the illegal harvesting and trade of forest products, however, have not been included in the explored documents. Combating illegal harvesting of forest products and related trade is a corner stone of the EU FLEGT Action Plan and extends beyond forest policy issues of EU member states. The second corner stone is to ensure the contribution of the forest sector to a green economy, including a new concept of green economy, which still needs to be incorporated into national forest policies. Unlike Poland, in the studied countries the priorities of European forest policy have been included in single policy programmes or strategies, which define aims and goals, as well as means of their implementation in a comprehensive and coherent manner. This promotes strengthening the position of the forest sector within the national socio-economic system and supports active shaping of its relations to other sectors of the economy.
The aim of this paper was to review and evaluate drafts of forest policy documents that have been developed for the purpose of updating the Polish “National Forest Policy” of 1997, but never entered into force. A total of 14 documents were covered in this analysis including 13 Regional Operational Programmes of the National Forest Policy and the draft of the National Forest Programme (NFP) developed in 2000–2005, as well as nearly 300 recommendations for the “second” NFP, elaborated in 2012–2016.
Very soon after the “National Forest Policy” came into force, it turned out that it needed to be adjusted to changing legal, social and economic conditions. The first attempts to revise and amend the document were made already in 2000. As a result, until 2004, 17 Regional Operational Programmes of the National Forestry Policy were developed and, on that basis, until mid-2005 a draft for a new NFP was worked out. However, the draft was neither adopted nor did it ever enter into force. The second attempt to work out the NFP was made in 2012 and resulted in the development of nearly 300 recommendations to the programme. However, to date, the NFP itself has not been finished.
Most of the documents examined here refer to the current priorities of the European forest policy, and thus they would close gaps in the Polish “National Forest Policy”. In this context, the recommendations to the “second” NFP are of great importance, because they were prepared through a wide participation of various stakeholders and they refer to a wide range of problems, propose specific legal regulations, as well as indicate directions for further development of the Polish forest sector. However, the completion of the NFP is a matter of political decision that rests with the Council of Ministers.
The aim of the paper is to review and evaluate Polish programmes and strategies centred on and related to forest, as well as national and transregional development strategies and priorities formulated at the european level. this work covers the ‘National Forest Policy’ and 28 other strategies, policies and programmes representing various forest-related policy areas, including environmental protection, agriculture and rural development, climate and energy as well as development strategies from 1997 to 2017.
The study shows that many of the priorities of the European forest policy have not been reflected in the ‘National Forest Policy’. These include, among others, adapting forests to climate change and enhancing their mitigation potential, enhancing the economic contribution of forestry to rural development, enhancing the role of the SFM in a green economy, securing the participation of all stakeholders in forest-related decision-making processes, improving communication in forestry and developing cross-sectoral cooperation. However, many of these forest-related issues have already been included in numerous strategic documents of other policy areas. As a result, many European forest policy priorities are scattered across Polish policy documents of different forest-related sectors and it raises justified concerns that inconsistencies and contradictions exist between them. Another matter of significant concern is that the issue of forests and forestry is barely mentioned in any of the examined development strategies. This may also indicate that the forest sector is getting more and more marginalized in the socioeconomic and political sector, as forest policy goals are defined and achieved within other policy areas and are practically absent in national and transregional development strategies.
The aim of the paper was to evaluate the priorities set for policy-making in forestry formulated under the Forest Europe process and in programmes, policies, strategies and legal acts of the European Union after 1997, which is also the year when the Polish ‘National Forest Policy’ was adopted by the Council of Ministers. During the last two decades, rapid policy development has been occurring Europe-wide. Forest policy goals defined within the Forest Europe process have also been reflected in EU’s strategic documents and legal acts and both processes are complementary as well as influencing each other.
Forest policy priorities after 1997 cover all three major aspects of sustainable forest management (SFM): ecological, economic and social. However, the main emphasis has been put on economic and social aspects of SFM. The key priorities defined in numerous Forest Europe and EU documents are the following: enhancing the role of forests and forest management in mitigating climate change including the promotion of production and wide use of wood; adapting forests to climate change and changing environmental conditions; conserving, protecting and enhancing forest biodiversity; enhancing the role of forests and forest management in rural development; fostering coordination and cross-sectoral cooperation within forestry. The need for enhancing forest research has been pointed out in almost all analysed Forest Europe commitments as well as in numerous EU documents.
The aim of our work was to give an overview on efficiency evaluation in forest management as described in the literature. Here we present definitions for efficiency and productivity of economic entities as well as categories of efficiency evaluation methods and discuss ratio analysis, parametric and non-parametric approaches to measure efficiency in forestry. With regards to ratio analysis, we focused on reports employing this approach in Poland due to the abundant literature on this subject. On the other hand, studies based on parametric and non-parametric approaches for efficiency evaluation in the forest sector have only been used occasionally in Poland and thus this part of our analysis is based on research done abroad. The most important parametric method is the Stochastic Frontier Approach (SFA), while the most important non-parametric approach involves Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), which was developed at the end of the 1970s and utilizes a mathematical programming algorithm.
Our review shows that efficiency evaluation in forest management in Poland so far is mostly based on ratio analysis. However, although those methods are of considerable practical importance, in terms of scientific development they are now being replaced by more mathematically and statistically advanced parametric and non-parametric methods, which also open up more opportunities to analyze the efficiency of forest management. The first research employing non-parametric DEA recently published in Poland is a good step towards improving research quality and provides comprehensive results for the efficiency evaluation of forest management.