On February 27, a round table discussion was held at the premises of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources in Kyiv with the title “Management of dry spruce tree stands within the boundaries of the Carpathian protected areas in Ukraine”. Representatives of nature protected areas, forestry, the SNPA-project, the MENR and experts from the science sector discussed the causes and consequences of massive drying up of mainly spruce forests in the Carpathians which is observed in our forests already since several years.
Dryness in forests though is not only happening in the Carpathians but in all parts of Europe. Foresters and parks management need to prepare for more natural disturbances caused by climate change and the expected rise of average temperatures which is linked to it.
An international expert, a senior researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research, Peter Brang, shared his European experience regarding the bark beetle outbreaks, emphasized that the core zones of protected areas are best to be left unmanaged since this is part of the natural process there. Outside the protection zone though effective control of outbreaks of bark beetle is of utmost importance and handling the outbreak can only be achieved with rapid action taken within a maximum of two weeks by logging the affected tree stands. If the reaction is not fast, any intervention is without effect. He also warned that it is necessary to prepare for large-scale changes in our forests that will be caused by climate change and man-made monocultures require a transformation to more natural mixed forests – such forests are more resilient towards climate change and reduce bark beetle outbreaks but also forest fires. These points were echoed widely by subsequent presentations and discussions of the experts participating in the discussion.
As a result, it was agreed on the creation of a working group, which will develop a plan of actions for the management of drying forest stands with a special focus on core protection zones, forest management zones but also on legal changes which are required for the effective measures. In May an expert visit to two national parks in Austria and Germany is envisaged to exchange experience with German and Austrian foresters and park rangers. The visit will be followed by a larger international technical meeting to be held in Kyiv.