This is the second part of my report from the Public consultation: Development problems and the organization of forestry in Slovenia. You may want to read the first part as well; its available here.
After the presentation there was a discussion led by prof. David Hladnik. He did a really good job moderating the discussion and made sure it wasn’t hijacked by self-confident people promoting their narrow interest. Interested parties got some time at the podium to present their point of view and declare their interest.
The most memorable talks were given by:
DISCLAIMER: I didn’t bother to double check the english translations of respective organizations’ names so please excuse me if they are wrong (or send me a message with the right ones so I can correct them).
- Jože Mori (head of the forest owners association) – among other topics he stressed that the law-makers should pay more attention to privately-owned forests, which present the majority of Slovenian forests (80%).
- Frenk Kovač, Chamber of commerce, forestry department(he delivered a very well-made presentation stressing that Slovenian wood should be made into products in Slovenia, not somewhere else).
- The bird-watchers (DOPPS) also had a really good speech about the non-financial aspects of Slovenian forests. Režonja in response said that their worries were taken into account, but it was still nice to hear a voice from an NGO.
- Lesnik (Forestry societies association ) and Oražem (SFS) asked Režonja if they have taken the Resolution on National Forest Programme (NFP) into account before discussing the models. The response was lukewarm and to me it seemed like they didn’t. I think that they’ve made a great point and NFP should definitely be a big factor in making of the new law.
- prof. Diaci represented the views of the Department of Forestry. They are in favor of a public corporation with some modifications, which would strengthen the free market approach.
- Irena Šinko from Slovenian Forestry Fund and National Farm Land said that the Fund is in favour of model number 3 (a public corporation, which allows some private ownership). Her talk was all over the place as usual but she defended her stance very well after being confronted by one of the participants. An interesting fact she pointed out is that the Fund has 22.000.000 EUR of outstanding claims from the denationalization process.
- Jože Prah from the Slovenian Touristic Association delivered a passionate speach about the beauty and touristic potential of our forests (eco-tourism).
In the end, Hladnik summed up the points that most of the interested parties agree on:
- Keeping or increasing the share of Slovenian State Forests.
- The public forestry service should not be split into fractions and its jurisdictions should be expanded.
- Forest management planning should be kept as it is now (done by the national forestry service, not private companies)
- Forest owners want more freedom in the use of their forests.
My thoughts after the public consultation:
The event was very well prepared and executed. Most parties that care about the subject were present and were given an opportunity to voice their opinion.
However, the opinions were really what one would expect and that is in my opinion not good for the future of forestry in Slovenia. Why? Because everybody’s interest seems to be keeping the status quo (and give SFS just a little bit more money so they can buy enough car fuel and spray cans again). This is also why the proposed model number 1 got the most support at the consultation out of them all (even though there are far better ones available).
With the parliamentary coalition in shambles the timeline for this law will be postponed as well (if not frozen until further notice). But sadly it seems that non-GG parites will not attempt a serious push in one direction and are content with the way things are (and will in turn probably get eaten up by the financially very powerful lobby of private forestry companies). Even though there is so much talk about change, there is no real political will behind it.
If things remain as they are, my prognosis is that the makers of new law at MKO will attempt to “change everything while changing nothing”, which is the oldest trick in the book and by doing that satisfy most of the interested parties.
P.S. Since this is a topic worth discussing, I would like to invite readers to a discussion in the comment section. If you can’t see it, you are probably reading this on the main (home) page of the blog and you have to click on the post title first.