Prepared by Gheorghe Florian Borlea
Forests cover 6 380 000 ha, 27% of the total area of Romania. Previously, 70% of the present-day territory was forest covered (Chirita, 1986). Sixty-six percent of the forests are found in the mountains (30% of the country), 24% in the hilly regions (37% of the country) and 10% on the plains (33% of the country).
Forest composition is varied. Conifers make up about 30%, beech (pure and mixed stands) 30%, oak species 19%, various hard broad-leaves 14% and soft broad-leaves 6%. A 'natural forest' composition model is the main goal of present-day management plans. From 1960-1985 inappropriate native and introduced coniferous species were planted, resulting in ecological problems in artificial forest stands and low wood quality.
The average growing stock is 217 m³/ha. In 1995 there was 0.27 ha forest area per capita. On average the total volume of harvested wood was 24-27 million m³ per year for 1951-1976. In 1987 the average growing stock was 22 million m³, it was 14 million m³ in 1996 and the maximum volume of wood to be harvested for 1997, as approved by Parliament, was 14.8 million m³.
Forest resources and management
Under the general management plan, renewed every 10 years, the main function of 44% of forests is to protect different ecosystems from soil erosion, pollution, and to create watershed protection (Function Group I). The main function of 56% of the forests is biomass production (Function Group II). Destruction by pollutants is serious in some industrial areas. It is estimated that 250 000 ha are heavily affected by pollution, and more than three million ha show foliar signs of pollution.
The first reference to forest protection was in the Constitution in 1907. However, in 1990 there were only 32 protected areas (25 000 ha). The development of the National System of Natural Parks and Reservations was initiated in 1990 (397 400 ha total, each park and reservation has 80% forest cover).
Forest ownership patterns
Previous forest policy transferred forest properties from private owners to the state. Establishment of state-owned forests began in 1863, with the transfer of forests owned by the Bucovina monasteries to the state. In 1871, these were managed by a Technical Council for Forest Administration. In 1939, forest ownership was as follows:
· 30% state-owned forests;
· 29% private forests; and
· 41% community forest.
In 1946 it was:
· 24% state-owned forests;
· 30% private forests; and
· 46% community forest (Dinu, 1939, Sabau, 1946).
By 1948, 100% of the forests were state-owned. Between 1954-1986, the local community administered 500 000 ha of state-owned forest. Under Law 18/1990, private ex-owners of forests received one ha of forest per person. The result is the current forest-ownership pattern - 6 030 000 ha of state-owned forest and less than 350 000 ha of private forest owned by more than 600 000 people.
The average private forest property is 0.52 ha. An important part (38%) of these forests are included in Functional Group I (forests where the main function is protection). Here, wood harvesting is restricted for ecological reasons. Also, private forests are grouped into small forest areas - overall 21 000 private forest areas out of which 22% have less than one ha, 36% 1-5 ha, 16% 5-10 ha, 19% 10-50 ha, 0.004% 50-100 ha, 0.001% 100-200 ha and only 0.005% have over 200 ha, making efficient private owner management of forests extremely difficult. Approximately 15% of the private forest owners organize together to better manage their forests. In 1996, there was no community-owned forest property.
The policy statement for the future aims to maintain current forest ownership patterns, assure the integrity of present-day private forest areas and to form owners of small forest properties into associations.
Historical precedents to forestry extension
Romania's history and civilization has continuously been linked with the forest. The first regulations governing forest management were issued in the 18th century, then in 1843, by Mihail Sturza in Moldavia and in 1847, by Alexandru Stirbei in Vallachia. In 1851, after the establishment of the first Silviculture School in Bucharest, led by three French foresters, these regulations acquired practical importance. The French forester group, together with young Romanian students and foresters, constituted the Forest Commission of Vallachia between 1851-1853. Their main focus was forest management.
The first forestry code, issued in 1881 stipulated continuity principles in Romanian forestry, and the necessity of having skilled forest administration and management personnel for state-owned forest property (created in 1863). This led to the foundation of the Silviculture Special School in 1883 in Bucharest.
The Progresul Silvic Society, a non-governmental association of foresters founded in 1886, has lobbied continuously for forestry extension, and tried to influence forest policy to provide sustainable forest management. Important Romanian personalities have become members of this Society to promote forestry extension principles.
The Society also organized symposiums, workshops and seminars to promote civic awareness in forestry, as well as a yearly 'tree-planting activity'. The foundation of Progresul Silvic Society and its Forest Journal, 'Revista Padurilor', in the same year were the most important events in Romanian forestry. The Forest Journal collection is the best synthesis of Romanian forestry.
The first professional school of forestry was founded in Branesti in 1894, and the first mid-level forestry school was founded in Timisoara in 1919. The first instructions for forest management issued in 1923, aimed at unifying the different regional management plans and the Law of Forestry Education. Three levels of forestry education were stipulated - lower level (Vocational Forestry School), mid-level (Medium Forestry School, Timisoara, Pantelimon and Herastrau) and graduate level (Silviculture Section of the Technical Institute, Bucharest).
From 1953 until 1990, forestry higher education was concentrated in Brasov. After 1990, new forestry faculties were founded in Suceava and Oradea. An Environmental Engineering section was founded in Timisoara at the Faculty of Hydrotechnics of Technical University. Private, higher education in ecology is developed in Bucharest, Timisoara, Arad, Deva.
The Forest Research Institute was founded in 1933 to provide solutions to specific problems found in Romanian forests. The first results of the Institute were the establishment of natural and taxonomic studies on the main native forest tree species, forest soil studies, identification and description or forest tree parasites, contributions to natural regeneration in oak forests, seed analysis methods, nursery methods for the culture of forest species, methods of afforestation of low production lands in south-eastern Romania (Dobrogea), techniques of forest windbreaks in flat plain areas and biometry studies for acacia and spruce.
In 1948 only 39% of forests were managed according to management plans. Beginning in that year a national system of forest management was developed and is continuously being updated and improved. Forest management plans consider the evolution of intermediate forest structure and its multi-use function in order to harmonize management objectives and results.
The main characteristics of Romanian forest management are:
· evolution towards multi-use forests;
· functional repartition by forest zone (1956) in accordance with the present-day concept of sustainable forestry;
· the systemic conception of forest management;
· the integration of forest management plans into a more complex framework concerning environment management;
· maintenance of natural composition in forests;
· the utilization of natural regeneration;
· maintenance of a high-level rotation age for native forest species;
· utilization of adequate treatments to maintain the ecological balance;
· emphasis on natural forest structure;
· utilization of selected systems for appropriate situations and functions (Zeletin and Armasescu, 1953); and
· the sustained increment method annual growth, corresponding to actual forest structure (Carcea, 1959, 1986).
The Forestry Code of 1996
The current forestry code was adopted by Parliament 4 April 1996. Renewal of the 1962 forestry code was considered, but dismissed. The new socio-economic situation, the appearance of private forest property, the need to rehabilitate degraded forest stands and the need to create a legal framework to emphasize the importance of forests in the ecological balance called for a contemporary plan.
Points stressed in the Code include:
· the total forest vegetation mentioned in the Forest Management Plans, both state-owned or private property, constitute the national forest area. Under the Forestry Code/1996 a forest area is defined as an area larger than 0.25 ha and covered with forest trees;
· the current forestry code refers to forest vegetation not included in the national forest area as forested pastures, forest windbreaks, forested low production areas, forests for watershed protection, community forest parks, dendrologic collections, forest tree alignments and the alpine vegetation with Pinus mugo;
· the State, represented by the Central Public Authority, currently the Ministry of Waters, Forests and Environment (Ministry), issues forest policy and oversees forest management;
· the responsibility of Romsilva RA (the government forest management organization) is to provide sustainable forest ecosystems, to preserve biodiversity and to ensure the multi-use functions of the forests; and
· national forest area is managed in terms of the silvicultural regime (system of technical, economic and legal norms/regulations issued by the Central Public Authority). Implementation of the forestry code is directed by the Central Public Authority.
Romsilva RA, founded in 1990, is supervised by the Ministry of Water, Forests and Environment. It manages state-owned forests and is organized into three administrative levels.
· The Center, headed by a general manager (120 members);
· 41 County Branches - the 42nd Branch, the Institute of Forest Research and Management (ICAS), consisting of three combined research and management stations, three forest research stations and four forest management stations (1 000 members) with five pilot forest districts; and
· 400 forest districts, managing 10 000 to 25 000 ha each.
The Forestry Code/1996 specifications
A forest management plan is drawn up for a period of 10 years (except for poplar and willow forests, renewed every five years) for each 'production unit' of the local forest districts. Forest management plans are issued in accordance with the general management plans of the territory to maintain sustainable, multi-use forests. Forest management plans are the responsibility of the Institute of Forest Research and Management and private companies under its direction. Every forest management plan is supervised by the Ministry, and modifications can be made only with the acceptance of the Central Public Authority.
Under the Forestry Code/1996, there are two functional forest classifications:
· Group I - protects the environment and serves recreation and conservation needs; and
· Group II - for biomass production and environmental protection.
Forest management applies the multi-use framework of the silvicultural system. For Group I there are four distinct functional types of forest:
· the first prohibits any silvicultural treatment or tending work, concerns only National parks and Reserves;
· the second, allows harvesting of only small amounts of wood. The aim of managing such a forest is not wood production but to preserve the forest canopy. Thinning is allowed according to the slope of the terrain, i.e. thinning is not permitted for slopes exceeding 35 degrees. This functional type is ascribed to stands covering small areas where selection systems cannot be applied;
· the third type is closely related to group selection and irregular shelter-wood systems. Very intensive protection functions require an uneven-age structure obtainable only with a slow regeneration process. This type is a common subject of discussion between foresters advocating selection system promotion and those who maintain that group system is the proper treatment to be applied; and
· the fourth type is a compromise between economic and ecological goals and any treatment regime could be applied in accordance with common criteria.
Forest management features stipulated by the Forestry Code are:
· high-forest regime to ensure sustainable forests. The coppice regime is allowed only in poplar and willow forests;
· species consistent with natural forest composition used for natural regeneration and forestation;
· clear-cutting only in pure stands of spruce, pine, acacia, poplar and willow for areas smaller than three ha. Natural regeneration or forestation of these areas within a maximum of two years;
· temporary transfer of forest areas may be accepted;
· the seed and planting stock used in forestry must be certified;
· the health of forests must be assessed annually and Romsilva RA has the responsibility of maintaining the ecological balance;
· the allowable cut is established annually by the government;
· logging activity should not damage the forest ecosystem beyond a certain limit (although the Forestry Code/1996 does not clearly specify this limit);
· Romsilva RA has the authority to buy low production lands or accept donations from owners for reforestation, and administrate public low production lands; and
· plant material and technical assistance costs necessary for the reforestation of low production lands is funded by the state budget.
Management Plans are issued every ten years for most forests, and every five years in poplar and willow plantations. A production unit could be formed by two or more management series, incorporating similar stands from the productive and protective viewpoints. The only condition for its establishment is related to the minimum area considered for a sustainable yield according to the main species life-cycle and its proper silvicultural treatments. A separate allowable cut is determined for each management series. From an administrative viewpoint, the stand is the lowest information unit and is called the management unit and one or more stands form a compartment.
Determining the allowable cut
The current method used to determine the allowable cut is based on a traditional sustained yield approach. The method aims to maximize the forest increment. The algorithm used to determine the allowable cut takes into account rotation length, average species composition, forest structure according to site indices, and the existing distribution of age classes.
Rotation length is calculated according to the maximum rent principle. This is compatible with the fact that the national forest estate is a state property, with annual expenditures and revenues. Small areas enter and exit this estate. Maximizing the rent is a more reasonable goal than maximizing land value. Rotations have been set according to the average increment of the target dimensional class, and reflect a conservative policy with an environmental dimension.
The administration and management of private forests is done by private owners themselves on the basis of local forest management plans. Provisional technical norms, the same as those for state-owned forests, have recently been issued (July 1996) by the Ministry. Any forestry activity in private forests must be supervised by the local forest district of Romsilva RA. All land owners in Romania can reforest their own land without restriction. This concerns harvesting and commercializing the wood (Forestry Code 68/1996).
Features of state support of private forests include:
· local management plans are funded by the state budget;
· reforestation of private low production lands is carried out by Romsilva RA and supported by the state budget allocations or by a special fund for low production lands;
· reforestation of clear-cut private forests, within a maximum of two years, is an obligation of private owners. Technical assistance is provided by Romsilva RA. Where reforestation is not carried out within this two year period, Romsilva RA districts will undertake reforestation and the private owner is obliged to pay the costs;
· in the case of natural disasters occurring on private individual forest areas, Romsilva RA will provide technical assistance and planting material free of charge;
· Romsilva RA provides pest control and prevention at no cost; and
· under the Law 83/1993, the state budget pays for planting material used by private owners to forest their own low production lands.
A user fee system is mentioned in the Forestry Code/1996, as a possibility of private forest owners obtaining benefits but rules and norms have not yet been issued.
Long-term goals for the state-owned forests
The Ministry of Water, Forests and Environment, Romsilva RA and the Forest Research and Management Institute created the Strategy of Forestry Development in December 1995, designed specifically for state-owned forests.
The current institutional structure is to be maintained. The Ministry assures the legislation and the control of forestry, and Romsilva RA is in charge of forest management at the national level. These plans will be renewed every ten years and the Institute of Forest Management Planning will oversee the process.
Long-term goals focus on:
· the maintenance of the integrity and development of the public forest estate; and
· the preservation of private forests.
Ecological objectives aim at:
· the conservation of biodiversity of natural forest types (over 150 000 ha of genetic resource reservations, 350 000 ha of protected areas, special attention for endangered species in forest ecosystems);
· the extension of the present-day forest area (reforestation of 10 000 ha of low production lands and 2 000 ha of low-production farmland is planned for the next five years);
· specific forest and hydro-technical works for flood control (financial resources limit investments in the short term to 600 km);
· technical development of forestry to provide sustainable management of forests (in accordance with current international requirements);
· continuous expansion of the use of natural regeneration (50% by the year 2000 and 60% by 2005) and improved structural complexity of forest stands;
· the ecological and economic reconstruction of degraded forests (50 000 ha/year);
· the intensification of forest protection and safeguarding activities through the establishment of a Center for Biological Methods in Forest Pest Prevention and Control;
· forest health assessment by a European Integrated Monitoring System; and
· the provision of sustainable forests through forest management planning.
Structural adjustment objectives in the forestry sector are to:
· optimize the administrative structure;
· promote the forestry information system;
· improve forest technology;
· promote privatization in forestry for specific forestry activities, such as forest roads, production of planting material, or through the association of private companies and forestry administration units (state-owned forests) to improve the value of forest products;
· improve the financial system through the development of timber extraction from state-owned forests, export of timber and other forest products, and new taxes for various forest benefits in special areas;
· maintain the current administrative organizations for specific research activities, or divide the Institute of Forest Research and Management into a National Institute of Forest Research and an Institute for Forest Management Planning, both under supervision of the Ministry; and
· create a National Center for Continuous Professional Training for Forestry under Romsilva RA and a new organizational system for mid-level, professional training of forestry personnel.
Legislative objectives include:
· development of private forest management norms; and
· renewal of technical norms defining the forestry regime and forestry personnel status.
Strategy concerning private sector
The Strategy contains a few general principles on private forestry extension in Romania:
· maintenance of private forest integrity (approximately 5 000 ha were deforested soon after privatization, especially in the south, Oltenia region);
· encouragement of the growth and sustainable management of multi-use private forests as stipulated in the Forestry Code and specific technical norms and regulations;
· integration of the local private forest management plans into a holistic view at the national level; and
· maintenance of the current forest ownership pattern with the goal of creating forest owner associations by geographical region.
Research and the private sector
The only research project on the topic of private forestry in Romania, completed by the Institute of Forest Research and Management, has proposed several variants for private forest management:
a) Private forests are managed by the local forest districts of Romsilva RA. - Private owners receive the corresponding usufruct for the owned area. This represents the value of the annual growth, from which costs for specific forestry activities, performed by Romsilva RA, is deducted. This method is considered the best for private individual forests where owners, including ex-owners family members do not live on their land. This includes approximately 80 000 ha of private forests owned by 150 000 people.
b) Simple management plans have been made for private forests integrated into Romsilva RA production units:· forest districts, specifically delimited in the field and managed according to the norms, for state-owned forests;
· simple management plans taken from the local management plan for each private owner;
· specific rules for wood harvesting; and
· the minimum requirement of a ten year period of cooperation between private owners and Romsilva RA forest districts.
c) Production sub-units - Private forests are managed as production sub-units having the following areas:· minimum 250 ha for high-forest;
· 200 ha for selection system;
· 50 ha for coppice.
These are based on local management plans and on the technical norms for state-owned forests. Management studies and plans will be undertaken for each private forest production sub-unit based on the forest management plans. Services for specific forestry operations (network) can be provided by the local forest districts of Romsilva RA. The minimum period required for cooperation between Romsilva RA forest districts and private owners is ten years.
d) Management series - If the area of a private forest sub-unit falls below the limit required, it will be included as a management series in the territory of the forest districts. A management study will be issued for each management series based on the local management plan.
e) Private forest associations - Associations must have a minimum of 50 ha of forest and will be managed on the basis of management regulations issued by the Institute of Forest Research and Management or certified private companies.
f) Individual management of private forests based on simple management regulations - The management plans will be issued at the local level and contain a brief description of forests, total wood volume; annual possibility and recommended forestry operations.
Education of forestry professionals in forestry extension
Formal forestry education in Romania is organized as follows:
University level· Faculty of Forestry at Brasov University;
· Faculty of Forestry at Suceava University;
· Faculty of Forestry at Oradea University; and the
· Forest College at Brasov University.
Postgraduate level:· Center for Continuous Training for Forestry Personnel, Busteni.
Ph.D. training courses:· Faculty of Forestry, Brasov and Academy of Agriculture and Forest Science-Bucharest.
Mid-level:· Technical School at Timisoara, five high schools and up to 10-12 vocational training and instructional establishments for foresters.
Some forestry extension topics are already included by education and training institutions. Specific subjects on extension are distributed between current disciplines. Knowledge acquired in school by forestry personnel is considered adequate for the management of current small-holding properties.
Training of private forest owners
Presently, specific training programmes or courses for private forest owners do not exist in the educational system. Private owners are not ready to invest time and money for training because they manage small properties having a maximum of one hectare. There are also few private owner associations and these are only in their beginning phase. Only recently have these associations considered the training of personnel.
The Ministry of Water, Forests and Environment, through its Forest Department, coordinates forestry extension and issues technical guidelines. The Institute of Forest Research and Management draws up forestry laws and provides regulation enforcement together with the Romsilva RA.
Romsilva RA administers and manages state-owned forests, issues forestry law and regulation enforcement, monitors technical assistance and service activities in private forests. The Institute of Forest Research and Management, as a branch of Romsilva, issues technical guidelines and instructions for forestry. Financial assistance is provided by the Ministry of Science and Technology and, in some cases, from the Academy of Agriculture and Forest Sciences. Management plans are also issued with financial assistance from the state budget.
Some private companies headed by forest engineers, who are ex-employees of the Institute of Forest Research and Management, issue forest management plans, under the Institute's guidance. Forest Month, March - April is organized every year by the Institute. This event is advertised in the mass-media. Professional contests are also organized annually. The distribution of the weekly Journal of Romsilva RA 'Our Forest' is limited to forestry personnel, and public impact is minimal.
Non-governmental associations (NGOs)
Since 1990 numerous environmental organizations have been founded in Romania. Most of these organizations focus on local problems and their activities are not particularly relevant to problems of forestry extension. The exceptions are Progresul Silvic (PS) and the Romanian Association of Ecological Management.
The Progresul Silvic Society (SPS) was created to provide a free flow of information between specialists on improved management of Romanian forests. The main goal of SPS has always been forestry extension. The society's objectives are to:
· promote the implementation of research results in the management, conservation and harvesting of forests and the general development of forest science;
· protect Romanian forest resources;
· discuss and propose strategies for hunting and fishing activities;
· promote and inform the public on new advances in forest science and the accumulated experience; and
· support and encourage the education of young people for a forestry career.
Presently, SPS has more than 1 000 members, comprised mainly of foresters and retired forest engineers. Their experience is passed to young people during workshops, seminars and field trips. The organization has local country branches and publishes the Forest Journal, Revista Padurilor, founded in 1866. Between 1945-1989, SPS was forbidden, but its spirit was maintained by foresters. Some Romanian and foreign personalities are 'honourary members'. Active local branches are organized into regional branches which publish semestrial or trimestrial publications such as Prosit-Timisoara for the western region, Bucovina Forestiera-Suceava for the northern region and the Forestry Journal-Brasov for the central region.
The Romanian Association for Ecological Management, is quite new and lobbies for the introduction of fair price for timber, and on other forest products, and some aspects of the multi-use role of forests. This organization can provide funds for forestry extension.
Financial arrangements for forestry extension
Following a government ruling, one percent of forest enterprises' budget must go towards research and development. In practice the level of financial support for this activity is far below this level because of other governmental priorities. This causes difficulties in sustaining good forest management. An adequate level of investment is required for forestry research and development.
Under the Forestry Code/1996, Romsilva RA will create a special fund for forest conservation and regeneration from the following sources:
· the market value of areas removed from the forest estate;
· compensation for damages to the forest estate;
· market value of losses through the exploitation of trees before the specific fixed rotation age;
· taxes paid for favourable effects of forests on the environment;
· 20-25% from allowable cut value; and
· allocations from the budget.
Required forestry operations and safe-guarding of all variants presented above can be provided by local Romsilva RA forest district personnel and paid for by private forest owners.
Forestry extension goals and examples
Based on current ownership patterns, existing institutional arrangements, and the legal framework, forestry extension in Romania has a limited chance of effectiveness.
The tradition of private forestry and forestry extension in Romania has been ignored for the past 50 years. Forestry has been considered a threat to agriculture due to the need for new farmland and pastures, and was therefore given little priority.
Both agriculture and forestry were managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry during the last 50 years. Beekeeping, silkworm culture and cattle-breeding were imposed on foresters. Production ran according to the central plan. Heavy penalties were enforced on those who could not fulfill the provisions of the plan, regardless of local conditions.
The training of forestry extension personnel
The training level of forestry personnel is considered adequate for present needs. There is a tradition of 110 years of education at the university level with three forestry faculties and five forestry high schools. These can be used for the development of forestry extension activities. The training system could be revised at the high school and post graduation level. Education and training should be continuously improved. Specific training in forestry extension is required.
Training for private owners in forestry extension is non-existent. A campaign is required for its promotion. In 1995, more than 100 forest engineers graduated and many forestry high school graduates remained unemployed. Having acquired professional skills, they can be trained as forestry extension specialists.
Ecology graduates of private universities are a special consideration. In 1990, the private education system was unexpectedly developed. The number of private ecological universities has grown since 1993. After the first graduation, in 1994, the graduates were deemed insufficiently trained and their diploma is not yet recognized by the authorities. Companies and organizations lacked interest in employing graduates. Confidence in these universities decreased and their future remains uncertain.
The current legislation permits the employment of extra personnel for local forest districts where there is a requirement for private property management. All specific extension problems are supervised, or solved by, the existent forest district personnel who are adequately trained for these problems.
Direct interaction with forest owners
Dialogue between practicing foresters and landowners is necessary for forestry extension implementation. This depends on a foresters' professional and communication skills. The long-term economic advantages to owners and the multiple benefits to society need to be emphasised. Owners should understand that forests are valuable and a secure long-term investment due to their continuous production. It is important to explain to forest owners that current wood prices will probably increase four to five times in the near future.
National television is perhaps the most valuable tool in transmitting any message in Romania. The impact of any present-day televised message is enormous. Radio and newspapers may also be valuable tools in transmitting information and promoting the interest of the people in forestry activities. Current television and radio programmes are insufficient for this purpose. Documentaries, presenting forests multiple benefits to society should be broadcast at prime time.
An important subject for private forest small-holders is the correct evaluation of their forests - often understood narrowly as the value of existing wood. Many of these small-holders intend to cut the forest in order to obtain an immediate profit. Forestry extension activities must be motivated by long-term economic advantages.
The forest has occupied an important place in the history and culture of Romanians. A 100 year tradition in forestry, and economic pressure starting in the 18th century, led to a conservative management system. So far, no radical changes have been made in Romanian forest policy after 1990, as the forest is managed as a public asset.
During the six year transition to a market economy, the main forestry reforms have been privatization of the forest estate and a new forestry law, Forestry Code/1996. With respect to the managerial background, the situation stands as it was in 1985. An environmentally sound managerial system has been established in order to promote indigenous tree species, natural forests, biodiversity conservation, long rotations and silvicultural systems based on natural regeneration.
The method used to establish the allowable cut remains the same. The present situation in forestry, however, is troubled by the lack of interdisciplinary research, misunderstanding of the real problems of forestry extension by officials, unsuitable allocation of financial resources and the lack of a flow of information between the research sector and the main-user.
Three laws are important, from the forestry point of view. The Law of Land, Law 18/1991 which created an important private sector in agriculture and a private forest sector as a secondary result, the Forestry Code/1996, which mainly addressed public forest administration and Law 83/1993 that referred to subsidies for reforestation of private, low productive lands. The role of agencies in the implementation of the laws, as stipulated in the Forestry Code/1996, must be clarified.
There seems to be a politically-motivated reluctance to changing the property structure of the forest estate, and to restoring all private property rights. The rhythm of economic reforms, institutional improvements and the lack of consistency with the environmental policy reflects this attitude. Supporting evidence includes:
· the restoration of private forest properties, limited to one hectare per owner/family. This inhibits long-term forest management in a free market economy due to insufficiently trained forest owners;
· both the Water Law and Environment Law neglect the role of forests in maintaining water and air quality, as well as the carbon sequestration function;
· a centralized system to set floor prices for auctions (the starting price for various species and dimensional classes) does not consider local conditions; and
· enforced low prices for planting material used in extension activities means that costs are not covered, resulting in diminishing interest in its production. As a consequence there is not enough available planting material for extension activities despite the demand.
Romanian forestry is composed of the Forest Research and Management Institute, which is the main governmental institution involved in forestry extension. Romsilva RA, its main user, is also its superior administrative level. Some current research programmes have not clearly addressed some specific technical and economic weak points of forestry but are drawn up as university subjects. The Institute has its own pilot forest districts but their role in effective extension is still very poor.
The current system of local forest districts directing forestry extension is questionable. There is no obligation or motivation for forest districts to promote forestry extension, and there is no control that forests districts fulfill these functions.
The three forestry faculties in Brasov, Suceava and Oradea are not yet involved in extension activities, in spite of their important capacities in the field. This is another consequence of insufficient competition for research contracts, as inappropriate extension did not stimulate demand for research and low demand was directed to the Forest Research and Management Institute.
In addition to personnel trained in forestry, extension activity requires intensive training for forestry personnel and for forest owners. Extensive training of future personnel should begin in the first years of school. Teachers, in primary and secondary schools, can provide an important base from which to promote extension principles to the next generation. Results can be obtained by using mass-media (especially television).
For suitable management of private forests, owners must have economic motivation. The possibility of obtaining various long-term economic advantages from harvested wood must be explained to the forest-owners. The complex role of forests in providing benefits to society must be emphasized. International workshops and seminars on forestry extension are necessary, but there is also the need for direct interaction among extension personnel, forest owners and politicians, experienced in other countries. The Society Progresul Sylvic, as a non-governmental organization, with highly qualified forestry personnel among its members, may play an important role in forestry extension at the field level.
Financial resources for future forestry extension, as stipulated in the Forestry Code/1996 (the special fund for forest conservation and regeneration), could be sufficient for developing good extension. Forestry extension is only theoretically considered among the current problems in Romania. The promotion of forestry extension has not yet made a relevant public impact. In the future Romanian forestry extension must be reviewed in order to improve its institutional framework.
Main problems encountered in connection with forestry extension are:
· insufficient information on forestry extension;
· insufficient separation between forestry extension and the institution in charge of management of state-owned forests;
· forestry tree seedling price is fixed artificially low, and does not cover production costs;
· lack of experience in private forestry;
· the price of wood (approximately $US54 m³);
· 700 000 ha of state-owned, low production lands; and
· present ownership patterns, especially the large numbers of owners and relatively small size of holdings.
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FOREST OWNERSHIP PATTERNS BEFORE 1985 (ROMANIA)
FOREST OWNERSHIP PATTERNS 1995 (ROMANIA)
PLANNED FOREST OWNERSHIP PATTERNS (ROMANIA)
NUMBER OF OWNERS PER FOREST SIZE CLASS (ROMANIA)