Forests and the forestry sector
Forest and other wooded land cover about one third of land area or 1.8 million hectares. The forest estate falls into two categories: the more productive continental region forests in the north, with oak and beech high forests, coppice stands of oak, other broadleaved species including hornbeam, chestnut, alder and robinia, and uneven-aged forests of spruce; in the south, the Mediterranean region forests, mainly rather unproductive ecosystems of oaks and pines, predominate. In the country as a whole, broadleaved species make up more than four fifths of the growing stock volume.
Most of the forest area is semi-natural and classified as available for wood supply. There are only 47 000 hectares of forest plantations. The area of protected forest has been increasing, for example by enlarging or creating national parks. The new regulations which entered into force in 1996 have promoted the increase of forest protected areas. In particular, the area of the National Park Plitvice Lakes has been enlarged, and a new nature park, Zumberak, has been established. About 80 percent of forests are owned by the State enterprise ¿Croatian Forests¿ and 18 percent are owned by small forest owners, where forest products such as cordwood, fuelwood, vine poles, are mostly produced. The remaining forest area (2 percent) is managed by non-forest organizations, such as directorates of protected areas and scientific institutions.
Products and trade
Croatia has a dynamic forest sector based mainly on hardwood species. The main products are roundwood and paper. Despite the high proportion of fuelwood consumption, the country also exports industrial roundwood, mainly to Slovenia, and sawnwood, primarily to Italy. Small volumes of wood pulp and panels are also exported, but paper demand is met by imports.
Most of the consumption is met by domestic supply. Croatia imports US$365 million and exports US$344 million worth of forest products.
Croatian Forests provide about eighty percent of wood production in Croatia. The remaining twenty percent is mostly cordwood and fuelwood, cut by small private forest owners. The sustainability of forests is ensured by an annual cut that must be significantly lower than annual volume increment.
Among the important non-wood forest products in Croatia are nuts, berries, wild fruits, medicinal plants, fodder and forage.
The most important issue in Croatia is the reconstruction and restoration of areas damaged by the Independence War (1991). The Ministry of Public Works, Reconstruction and Development is implementing programmes, including forest-related, to revitalize war-torn areas.
It is estimated that 24 000 hectares, or 12 percent of the total forest area, owned by a forest enterprise, Hrvatske ¿ume, and 1 200 km of forest roads are contaminated with mines.
Last updated: August 2004