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The FAO/Austria Expert Meeting on Environmentally Sound Forest Operations for Countries in Transition to Market Economies was organized by the Forestry Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Government of the Republic of Austria, in cooperation with the Austrian Freedom from Hunger Campaign Committee (FFHC). The meeting was held from 20 – 27 September 1998 at Ort, Gmunden, on Lake Traun in Upper Austria.

The Austrian Coordinating Committee was represented by Dr. H. Redl, Chairman of the Austrian FFHC Committee. Dr. W. Jirikowski, Teacher of the Forestry Training Centre, Ort, was in charge of the local arrangements for the meeting and Dr. R. Heinrich, Chief, Forest Harvesting, Trade and Marketing, Forestry Department, FAO, was the overall coordinator and organizer.

Cooperation between FAO and the Government of Austria in the field of forestry has a long tradition, particularly in organizing and conducting seminars, workshops and training courses on forest operations at the Forestry Training Centres in Ort and Ossiach in Austria.

The Expert Meeting was attended by representatives from the following countries in transition: Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, and Ukraine. The participants were from Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry, universities, faculties of forestry and training institutions and Non-governmental Organizations, as well as from forest enterprises.


The objective of the Expert Meeting was to exchange experience and information on the development of environmentally sound forest operations in countries undergoing transition to market economies, provide information on environmentally sound forest operations based on the experience of private forest enterprises supported by administrative, institutional and financial programmes as established in Austria, and to demonstrate appropriate forest operations involving individual forest contractors and forest enterprise personnel in small, medium and large scale forest operations.


The Expert Meeting was opened by Dr Hermann Redl, Chairman of the Austrian FFHC Committee. There was an Introduction to Forestry in Austria by Mr G. Mannsberger, Head of the Forestry Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Dr Rudolf Heinrich on behalf of FAO thanked the Austrian authorities for hosting and providing financial support for the meeting. He welcomed the experts to the meeting with the desire that it would provide an excellent forum for the exchange of experience on the processes of privatization of forest operations management.

The programme included country statements accompanied by slide shows. Demonstrations were provided on intermediate and advanced technology in forest operations. Visits to private forests provided an opportunity to discuss how efficiency and economies can be or have been improved over a period of time so as to lead to an overall advancement in forest industry development.

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