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The Seminar 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, and was held at Ort, Gmunden, located at Lake Traun in Upper Austria.

W. Jirikowski was the Austrian coordinator; R. Heinrich was the FAO coordinator and organizer; the Austrian organizers were H. Redl and D. Hanak-Hammerl.

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.

However this Seminar on Economics and Management of Forest Operations for Countries in Transition to Market Economies represented a new initiative for a closer cooperation between the Government of Austria, FAO and Countries in Transition. The Austrian Government through a special contribution enabled FAO, together with the Austrian institutions involved, to plan, design, organize and execute the Seminar. In particular, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Regional Government of Upper Austria, the Forestry Training Centre Ort, Representatives of the Forest Service of Upper Austria, Board of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Agriculture and Forestry, Forest Research Institute and Forest Industries Enterprises contributed substantially to this Seminar.


The Seminar was attended by representatives from the following 13 countries in transition: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, and the Russian Federation, as well as a representative from the World Bank. The participants were from ministries of agriculture and forestry, university faculties of forestry and training institutions, and public and private forest industries.


The objective of the Seminar was to provide participants with a good understanding of the principles of economically efficient and environmentally sound forest harvesting operations - based on the experience of private forest enterprises and the Government's administrative and financial support programmes as established in Austria - so as to improve efficiency and raise self-reliance in the management and planning of forest industries in countries in transition to market economies.

The theme of the Seminar was to demonstrate appropriate forest methods which permit the involvement of local populations in harvesting and transport activities - providing them with income and employment - and thus generating more wealth. Special emphasis, however, was to use the meeting as a forum to exchange experience and information among participants on problems and results so as to transform centrally planned forest enterprises into market oriented enterprises. It was an opportunity to exchange ideas, serve as a starting point for new strategies and new technologies for sustainable forest enterprises as well as forest resources conservation.

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. Important aspects dealt with efficient use of the resource base on a sustainable and environmentally sound basis; how to conserve, protect and utilize natural resources on a sustainable basis; and especially the wider concept of forest harvesting and its key role as a link between the forest resource base and markets.


The Seminar was opened by Hermann Redl, Director of the International Division, and Dieter Hanak-Hammerl, Forestry Department (Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry), Vienna; Rudolf Heinrich, Chief of the Forest Harvesting, Trade and Marketing Branch, FAO, Rome; and by Otto Sedlak, representing the Government of Upper Austria.

R. Heinrich in his introductory address welcomed and thanked the participants on behalf of Karl-Hermann Schmincke, Director of the FAO Forest Products Division.

The programme included lectures accompanied by slide shows. During the one-week Seminar information was given on integrated multiple use forestry, forest management operations, agriculture and tourism, infrastructure development, formation of associations for rural and forest road development and cooperation arrangements; and demonstrations were provided on intermediate and advanced technology in forest operations and sawmilling.

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