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Zuzana Dobsinska and Zuzana Sarvasova

Abstract

During the past decades, the awareness of environmental issues in forest management is increasing due to changes in environmental education. The perceptions of forests, sustainable management, and ecosystem services were studied through two surveys. The general public and forest owners were the two target groups. The questionnaires had similar questions, though two different methodological approaches were used - the CATI system, for general public opinion survey, and semi-structured questionnaires for forest owners. The second survey contained more detailed questions regarding forest properties. Combined answers from 1503 respondents from the general public and 150 forest owners were evaluated on the following topics: sustainable forestry, major ecosystem services, and perceptions of forests. The majority of the Slovakian public regards ecological values as the most important element, whereas forest owners prefer the economic purposes for the maintenance and enhancement of forests. Forest owners tend to visit their forests once per week, whereas the general public tend to visit only once per month. The main cause for this non-attendance in the general public was a lack of recreational time, followed by a disinterest in forests. The main purpose for visiting forests for both groups was recreation. Overall, it can be concluded that people are mostly satisfied with forest management in Slovakia. Forest owners are satisfied with their forest properties, and plan to keep them for their children. In the future, more attention should be focused on investigating the younger generation’s perception of forests.

Open access

Vilém Jarský, Zuzana Dobšinská, Michal Hrib, Jiří Oliva, Zuzana Sarvašová and Jaroslav Šálka

Abstract

Restitution of private land ownership has been a major undertaking influencing the forest sector in many post-communist countries. The Czech Republic and Slovakia are typical representatives of the countries where major societal changes have taken place since the fall of communism in 1989, including the restitution process of the nationalized property. The aim of this article is to analyse the process of the forest land restitution with the emphasis on common and different features between the two countries. Based on a critical evaluation of published reports, articles and valid legislation, the course of the restitution process and its current state and situation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are described. The restitution of the property collectivized by the communist regime, including forest property, was enabled by the federal law in both countries. Even after their split in 1993 the restitution process unfolded in a similar way in both states, with the notable exception of church property in the Czech Republic. Unlike Slovakia, a country with high religious predominance, where the church property restitution was resolved almost immediately, in the Czech Republic the legislation governing the church property restitution was not issued till 2012. In both countries the restitution process resulted in the differentiation of forest land ownership, now presenting challenges for the formulation of forestry policies. In terms of forest management and protection, the most problematic are small-scale forest owners who have lost ties to their restituted forest property and cannot or do not want to manage it.