History since 1989

History of Foundation of PROSILVA Europa 1989

PROSILVA was founded at Robanov Kot, Savinja valley, Slovenia, September 22th 1989.

From  the 1960s to the 1980s there were regular meetings, more or less informal, of the perialpine Chairs of Silviculture from Universities advocating Close-to-Nature ideas (Ljubljana, Munich, Zürich and sometimes Nancy) discussing ways of implementing this form of forest management inspired from virgin forest dynamics.

Also during this time a group of forest practitioners ANW, in the wake of Alfred Möllers’s movement, supported the implementation of Continuous Close-to-Nature Forest management.

The idea of Prof Dušan Mlinšek, recent past president of the IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations) was to merge both groups and expand it to welcome all Europeans foresters convinced of these ideas.

At the IUFRO world congress in Ljubljana 1986 Prof. Dušan Mlinšek for the first time presented his idea to establish a network for close-to-nature forestry in Europe.

So in 1989 Prof. Mlinšek invited, conjointly with Hilmar Schoepffer and Brice de Turckheim, leaders in this field at the time (see list of the founding members below) to Slovenia,  to constitute a corresponding European movement.

download the Declaration of Robanov Kot (French) go to Declaration of Robanov Kot (engl.)

Some of the Founding Members

Dušan Mlinšek

Dušan Mlinšek

was one of the initial founders of Pro Silva (1989), emeritus Professor for silviculture, at the biotechnical unisersity of Ljubljana. Also after his active days he gave inspiration and motivation for a whole generation. He had the jubiliee of his 90th birthday in 2015.



Brice De Turckheim

Brice de Turckheim

was initial founder of Pro Silva (1989). He was forest owner and consulter in Alsac (France). He died in January 2013. He was an inspiring personality and former president of Pro Silva Europa.

Heinz Reininger

Heinz Reininger

he was also one of the founders of Pro Silva in 1989, later her formaly founded Pro Silva Austria (1992). Heinrich Reiniger was the manager of the forests of the abbey in Aigen-Schlägl and author of many articles and books:e.g. "Das Plenterprinzip: Grundlagen - Bestandsüberführung - Bewirtschaftungsmodelle"

Sepp Spörk

Josef Spörk

He also was participating at the founding of Pro Silva (1989), he was founder of Pro Silva Austria. Between 1998 and 2006 he was president of Pro Silva Austria, forest manager in the forest enterprise of the Maltese Order of Knights. Between 1998 and 2004 he was Professor for silviculture at the university for lifesciences in Vienna.

Jean Phillipe Schütz (c) Eckart Senitza

Jean Philippe Schuetz

was one of the initial founders of Pro Silva (1989), president from 2005-2012. After his studies in Zurich, he mades his docorate under Prof. H. Leibundgut in 1968. After 4 years as director of the Forestry Office of Couvet and 8 years in research, he became 1979 Professor of Silviculture at the ETH Zurich until September 2004. The main focus was on the development of silvicultural systems close to nature forestry and the composition of mixed forests. He also gave impulse in the IUFRO network.

Hermann Wobst (C) Eckart Senitza

Hermann Wobst

was as a forest supervisor in Lower Saxony office head in the Forest District “Forstamt  Stauffenburg”. From 1966-2000 he guided countless excursions in the Pro Silva examplary forest “Landteil”. For many years he was chairman of the ANW Lower Saxony. Hermann Wobst was one of the founding members of Pro Silva and for 25 years the German Pro Silva delegate. Interested in an open exchange of views, he joined many international excursions and is still a strong supporter of our European network.

download List of founders with signatures download the first draft of Constitution (German)

Founding Members

  • Austria: Heinrich Reininger, Josef Spörk
  • Belgium: Peter Roskams, Marcel van Miegroet
  • Slovakia: Stefan Korpel
  • France: François Bessières, Michel Hubert, Maurice Lorne, Brice de Turckheim
  • Germany: Franz Bauer, Willi Gayler, Rudolf Gerbaulet, Bernd Leichthammer, Hans-Jürgen Otto, Hilmar Schoepffer, Franz Straubinger, Sebastian von Rotenhan, Martin Weltecke, Hermann Wobst
  • Greece: Spiros Dafis, Pavlos Smiris
  • Hungaria: Bela Varga
  • Norway: Helge Frivold, Andre Tomas Eid
  • Swizerland: Louis-André Favre, Jean-Philippe Schütz
  • Slovenia: Hubert Dolinšek, Dušan Mlinšek, Janez Pogacnik, Maks Sušek
  • Croatia: Željko Kramaric, Branko Prpic

Chair Pro Silva Europa

  • Brice de Turckheim (France) 1989-1993
  • Jaap Kuper (The Netherlands) 1993-1997
  • Hans-Jürgen Otto (Germany) 1997-2000
  • Thomas Harttung (Denmark) 2000-2005
  • Jean-Philippe Schütz (Switzerland) 2005-2012
  • Philippe Morgan (Wales, UK) 2012-2017
  • Eckart Senitza (Austria) 2017-
go further to Board Members
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