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In Slovenia, forests are a symbol of the country's recognisability and a reflection of its attitude towards sustainable development. We strive to ensure the continuous optimum functioning of forests as ecosystems, biotic communities and habitats, as well as the sustainable use and management of this resource. Forest ecosystems significantly contribute to the protection of soil, waters and climate; they are home to numerous plant and animal species and a place for the relaxation and recreation of people. Forests are also an important economic factor, providing energy and many green jobs.

Slovenia is among the most forested countries in Europe

Slovenia is among the most forested countries in Europe. About 1.2 million ha of forests, i.e. 0.6 ha per citizen, cover 58.2% of Slovenia's surface. The growing stock of Slovenian forests amounts to 338 million cubic meters. Of this, 46.5% is coniferous and 53.5% deciduous growing stock. The annual increment amounts to approximately 8.5 million cubic meters of wood. Felling, particularly in private forests, lags behind the allowable felling under forestry management plans, reaching 70% of allowable felling and 40% of the current increment.

79% of forests are privately owned and 21% are owned by the state or municipalities. Large, uninterrupted state-owned forest holdings allow for effective sustainable management, while private forest holdings are very fragmented. The average size of private forest holdings is approximately 2.9 ha and in general each holding is further divided into several separate plots. The fragmentation and large number of owners (431,000) and co-owners hinder professional work and optimum wood utilisation in private forests.

The importance of forests and forestry

In addition to the general benefits of forests, they can provide permanent economic benefits to the owners thereof and society in general. Although the value of wood production and processing may never attain the share of the gross domestic product it enjoyed in the past, wood production and processing can still significantly contribute to the integrated development of our society. In the future, forests will also make an important contribution to the increase in tourism's share of the gross domestic product.

Forest management

The Resolution on the National Forest Programme is the basic strategic document determining the national policy regarding sustainable forest management. The main principles of the Resolution are aimed at preserving forests and ensuring their multifunctional role, including environmental, social and economic aspects. The forestry goals are, in particular, to ensure forest conservation and sustainable development in terms of biodiversity and all the ecological, social and production functions of forests, and to conserve the natural environment and maintain ecological balance. In accordance with the Forest Act, a forest owner must ensure the forest's ecological, social and production function and must therefore manage it in line with forest management and silvicultural plans. Owners must also allow free access to their forests, as well as hunting and the recreational gathering of non-wood goods in accordance with regulations.

In 2016 a company for managing state-owned forests and a budgetary fund for forests – the Forest Fund – were established for the purpose of fostering model forest management.

Public forestry service

Public forestry service is carried out by the Slovenian Forest Service and the Forestry Institute of Slovenia. Public forestry service activities include the following: monitoring the state and development of forests, forest protection, directing the management of forests, individual forest trees and groups of trees outside settlements, directing the construction and maintenance of forest roads, keeping records and databases for forestry, providing advisory services and training to private forest owners, producing forest seeds, including the harvesting of the seeds of forest and tree species in seed plantations, storing a reserve quantity of the seeds of forest tree and shrub species, establishing and operating a seed bank, providing seedlings of forest tree and shrub species, and controlling activities in forests if they have been co-financed from the budget of the Republic of Slovenia.

Forestry measures

Five framework forestry measures have been adopted within the Rural Development Programme. The measure "Transfer of knowledge and training activities" is intended to raise the level of knowledge regarding sustainable forest management, management in Natura 2000 sites and safe work in forests. Investments in fixed assets are intended for the construction and reconstruction of forest roads and the construction, reconstruction and preparation of skid trails. We also financially support activities adding value to wood, the conservation and development of the natural and cultural heritage, and renewable energy sources. By investing in the development of forest areas and the improvement of forest viability, we stimulate the development of forest areas, rehabilitation after natural disasters and investments in forest technologies.