Friday, 25 May 2007

Sustainable Forest Management in Lower Saxony

- Rajendra K.C.,
Tropical & International Forestry (Student)

Germany is the first country who practiced the sustainable forest management. They propounded the principles and practiced it here since mid of 17 the century. The mine industries are considered as the pioneer of the SFM. Since the Mine industry wanted to be sustainable, they needed the fuel like the forest as the sustainable manner hence the dwindling scenario of forest availability made them to work towards sustainable management.

The constitution of German does not allow to use ones property to hamper others (society's benefit). No private forest owner can bar people to enjoy and enter the forest. All the forests including private, has free access to all by law. Can we compare this situation to any of our countries in developing worlds? certainly not.

Normally, the 30% of their annual cut comes from the unplanned activities such as abiotic reasons such as Storms. The storms in the beginning of this year damaged lots of tree here. All together more than 15 million cubic meter of trees were destroyed by strong wind in just a day (18 January). Alone, the Lower Saxony bore the premature uprooting and damage around 1.5 million cubic meter of Beech, Douglas Fir, Oak etc. They deducted this loss for their Allowable Annual cut of 2 million.

To get the inventory information, they have started before 250 yrs. They have quite a good data of each and every part of forest since last 250 years. What a promising and appreciative data and information do they have. The modern history of Nepal is younger than their scientific forest management and Forest Inventory system. What a big gap! Before to start the inventory, they use to do the soil survey too. They are doing soil survey (inventory) at the interval of 50-60yrs. For this, they are spending around 60 Euro per hectare of soil survey. At the moment, they are earning 90 Euro net profit from one hectare of forest land. As per them, it is quite encouraging.

The annual diameter increment on Oak varies from 0.3-0.6 cm and the Beech >0.6 cm. It is quite low in comparison to tropical countries. The Basal area here is estimated around 30-35 square meter per hectare.

They have been focusing on Quality of products. Since the Germany is highly populated and medium sized country, it cannot compete with Russia, USA, Canada and other Scandinavians countries with quantities production, it can only compete with them on quality basis. Therefore, they are giving more priority to quality rather than quantitiy sothat they could earn lots of money and could survive on competition.

Interestingly, the British had exploited 50% of their forest after the World War II. They harvested the forest and took all to their country (UK). It reverted my concepts that the big fish eats only the small fish. It is not always true. The big and strong try to crush the looser and weaker.

This forest has been certified by PEPFC for sustainable management. They do regularly checkup or monitor the management systems.

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