Forestry Training Centre Ort
Austria is a well-forested country of which 46 percent is wooded area; 2 059 million ha or approximately 53 percent of this area is made up of small forest proprieties under 200 ha.
The silvicultural management of these forests is left to the owner, who often is unqualified.
Both the Chamber of Agriculture, as the professional representative, and the Ministry of Agriculture have been endeavouring to create a positive approach in this area by clarification and an extensive advisory service.
By stimulating the interest of the small forest owner, it should be possible to provide him as well with the necessary know-how. Correct forest management is not only in the interest of the respective owner but is also a matter of national concern.
An important starting-point for improving the present situation of the small forest is to make available suitable planning material.
2. A FOREST MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The forest management system is a cultivation plan referring to a forest enterprise in general as well as to a specific strip of forest.
The basic data needed are provided by an inventory prepared with the help of the owner. This leads to the elaboration of a plan with suggested procedures that are to be followed regarding location, time, organization and financial criteria.
The cooperation between adviser and owner guarantees that the necessary treatment is carried out with the most suitable machine in the most suitable area at the right time.
Moreover the plan provides information on silvicultural criteria, forest road construction, machines and appliances required, and their working capacity.
Thus the owner will have details about the possible felling quantity of his property, which areas remain to be treated, and his future investment activities.
3. COMPILATION OF THE PLAN
There are several ways of drawing up the plan.
- The owner can make use of the service offered by the Chamber of Agriculture. For a small contribution the whole forest evaluation is carried out by experts. They work with a special computer programme to ensure a uniform and efficient procedure.
- The present curriculum for a master's degree for forest labourers includes the forest management system so that the candidate draws up a plan for his own property. An increasing number of such plans can therefore be expected.
- Furthermore, a wide range of courses is offered by the Forestry Training Centres, which enables each individual to work out the necessary theoretical basis for the plan on his own. Relevant data are issued annually by the Ministry of Agriculture. As explained in detail below, these data (standard direct costing) are primarily designated as an aid for the forestry adviser.
- Finally a small brochure for rural youth is worthy of note; it explains in simplified fashion how to create a management plan.
4. CONTENTS OF THE MANAGEMENT PLAN
The management plan consists of several parts which are comparable to a complete forest valuation scheme. They are as follows:
4.1 Introduction: aim and purpose
4.2 Main part
4.2.1 general description of the property
4.2.2 technical basis for the compilation of a plan
4.2.3 description of the present state
- survey of the forest areas
- growing stock and increment
- forest condition
- age-class relation
- utilization right
4.2.4 formulation of the desired outcome
- compartment and management class division
- silvicultural planning
- felling quantity planning
4.5 Economic evaluation
4.6 Chronological record of the property
4.7 Tables and charts
The size of the individual chapters depends on the scale of the enterprise and the defined aim of planning.
5. ALTERNATE SURVEY METHODS
A choice of alternative survey methods is available. It is determined by the technical potentiality of the planner. For example a candidate for a master's degree carries out an inventory by using a relascope and a yield-table to determine wood volume.
Yield estimation is generally deduced from the silvicultural felling quantity.
The output is a differentiated economic view which can be predicted. Especially in case of farm wood, the different lines of production can be then compared.
6. THE ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS OF THE MEDIUM-SCALE FOREST ENTERPRISE
The economic value of a forest should not only be measured by timber proceeds but also by profit and loss, direct costing and its - usually considerable - share of the total agricultural income. In Austrian forestry the income per hour is on the average much higher than for milk production and cattle rearing. In order to make proper comparisons, the calculation of forest income has to be adapted to the usual procedure in agricultural matters.
7. PROFIT-AND-LOSS ACCOUNT
The profit-and-loss study determines the realistic minimum price (prices must cover the production costs). In this context all costs linked with the production (beginning with the establishment of a stand) and the sale of the product have to be taken into consideration, which makes it a calculation of total costs.
The profit-and-loss account is therefore based on data derived from the description and specific planning of crop. The material and time required is entered into the account and classified as follows:
- tending of a young stand
- forest protection
- firewood production
- maintenance of forest roads
- general administrative costs
When certain costs do not arise annually, they are summed up for the entire planning period and divided by the number of years (usually ten).
The costs per machine hour and wages are taken from a tariff catalogue. The cost of materials is equivalent to the current price at the time of calculation. The same applies to the value of the volume to be cut.
Profit or loss corresponds to the difference between income and costs.
8. DIRECT COSTING
Direct costing is an appropriate way of evaluating and comparing the individual lines of production. Here only the variable costs (those directly connected with production) are considered, as they would not apply if the respective line were shut down. The difference between the yield and these variable costs can be used to cover the fixed costs. Thus the comparison of these amounts in the various lines of production leads to a grading of their effectiveness.
9. SHARE OF TOTAL AGRICULTURAL INCOME
The income comprises the profit and the value of the owner's performance or, in other words, it is the yield minus the variable costs and the amount of depreciation.
10. STANDARD DIRECT COSTING
Within the agricultural and forestry extension service a project was started to standardize such data that are relevant in direct costing and to publish the data as a brochure. It is published annually and of course contains the figures for forestry as well. It includes data on working sections in a standardized condition. The calculation is carried out for major kinds of timber and provides information on costs, yield, and direct costing.