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Near-natural forest management in Slovakia

Excursion of a delegation from Pro Silva Austria to Zvolen

Monday, 1 to Wednesday 3 September 2019, Zvolen and surroundings

At a special invitation of the President of "Pro Silva Slovakia" Prof. Milan Saniga to the European President Eckart Senitza, a group of only six people from Austria was able to refresh contact with their colleagues in Slovakia and above all to make efforts to bring these colleagues closer to the European group again:

"Pro Silva Slovakia" is a free association of 120 forest-oriented individuals and organisations that act in accordance with the principles of nature in the vicinity of forestry. The association was one of the founding members of the European organization Pro Silva (Prof. Korpel). It works on the basics of voluntary and active cooperation between representatives of governmental and non-governmental forests and scientific institutions. They report on the principles and principles of the promotion of the sustainable conservation of forest ecosystems, which are equally capable of fulfilling economic and ecological functions.

University of Zvolen

The Technical University in Zvolen with the Faculty of Forestry and the Department of Forestry under the direction of Prof. Saniga is a very strong core in teaching and practical exercises. The nearby university forest is often used for outdoor lessons with forest students. The assistant prof. Peter Jaloviar and Stanislav Kucbel and several others multiply the silvicultural teaching. The University of Zvolen is also a focus of colleagues from the Czech Republic, Poland and the Balkans.


In beautiful late summer weather the group started with a tour of the town centre of Banska Bystrica. After the reception by Doz. Peter Jaloviar the guest rooms were moved into the University of Zvolen.

The responsible Ing. Apfel and Prof. Saniga presented practical examples of near-natural forest management of the comunity forests of Banska Bystrica, which in special cases must also fulfil the function of drinking water protection of the city.

In the afternoon the trip went over the watershed against Poland to the village Donovaly, with a visit to the teaching object of the Institute of Silviculture "Spruce Plenter Forests with fir admixture" (Mistríky). Prof. Saniga was able to present the longterm measuring data in his "favourite forest".

In the afternoon Doz. Stanislav Kucbel through the primeval forest of Badin, an impressive natural forest reserve of European importance. Long-term regeneration after windthrow could not hide the strong wild influence with strong bite of the fir trees.

The second day offered a visit to the Universities teaching forest in Zvolen with the topics oak economy, beech plenter forest, Seebach's rapid growth enterprise, light thinning in the beech and oak stands, management of beech fir thickening and pole wood. Here, too, the germinated young oak trees were a sign of massive wild influence. The shooting of roe deer is in homeopathic concentration and the influence of wild boar is overestimated. Here, too, modern hunting methods would be a promising approach.

After visiting Banská Štiavnica (Schemnitz) with its old town and forest school we could still feel the "smell of the monarchy". Afterwards we were shown the ProSilva example stand in Pocuvadlo and under the direction of Doz. Peter Jaloviar (Univ. Zvolen) also met another important representative of Pro Silva Slovakia: Dr. Rudolf Bruchánik from the Forestry Department of the State Forests Banská Bystrica (Lesý SR).

Pro Silva Slovakia, together with TU Zvolen, has established a network of over 160 demonstration objects and example forests throughout Slovakia, which are used for excursions and training of forest students. Regular contact with colleagues in the Czech Republic is maintained. We now hope to involve them more closely in the international environment.

Many thanks to Prof. Milan Saniga and his team who offered a professional, cultural, culinary and humanly unique program.

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