MPs discuss better utilisation of Croatian forests' potential

Zagreb - Parliamentary deputies said on Thursday that the economic potential of Croatian forests has not been fully utilised, and that Croatia exports mainly logs while importing furniture.

Major furniture factories have been closed to a large extent over the last two decades, and furniture manufacturing has been reduced to small businesses specialised in making furniture items, Darko Klasić of the HSLS party said during a debate on draft amendments to the Act on Forests whereby procedures for the separation of forests and forest land from the state-owned forest economic zone is being regulated.

Katarina Peović of the RF said that the draft amendments were proposed to make it possible for the state to renounce its responsibility for the excessive use of forests by foreign investors.

The agriculture ministry's state secretary Mladen Pavić reassured the parliament that the amendments ware drawn up to reduce the administrative burden and simplify procedures for certain infrastructure facilities.

Pavić said that the Hrvatske Šume (HŠ) company, established 140 years ago, successfully manages the forests all that time.

Pavić also said that the HŠ is tasked with planting a million trees annually.

Croatia has 95% of natural forests and harvests less wood than is grown annually, thus maintaining a natural balance, the HŠ said last year.

In Croatia, forests cover 49.3% of the land area, of which 76% is owned by the state and 24% by private forest owners. The main characteristic of Croatian forests is that they are 95% natural, unlike many forests in Europe and the world which have been converted into plantations and monocultures.

Author: Hina