By Maja Tuljkovic – Sarajevo
On occasion of marking 21 March, the International Day of Forests, an afforestation project was carried out in the Mojmilo neighborhood of Sarajevo.
This action was organized by the Directorate of Forestry of Canton Sarajevo and the Cantonal Public Company ‘Sarajevo Forests’, and under the sponsorship of the Canton Sarajevo Ministry of Economy.
Even though 1.000 seedlings were planted, on this day they wanted to reflect on the importance of forest ecosystems, and to express concern over the attitude towards this natural heritage.
Forests are an integral part of the global sustainable development and has a key importance for the quality of life of B&H society. The World Bank estimated that the live of 1,6 billion people are directly dependent on forests. Unfortunately, despite repeated warnings, initiatives and activities on the promotion and protection of forests, they are still being ruthlessly destroyed.
‘’Currently around one million cubic meters of coniferous forests in B&H (fir and spruce) are threatened by bark beetles. There is an increasing percentage of treers that are suffering from drought, because they were not able to survive the dry periods, and hundreds of acres of forest were swallowed by forest fires’’, said the Dean of the Faculty of Forestry in Sarajevo prof. dr. MirzaDautbašić.
The proportion of protected area on the territory of B&H continues to be on the bottom of European countries, and the areas that have a huge potential for rural, mountain, cycling or health tourism is being filled with illegal dumping of garbage.
There are many problems, but experts are not surprised considering that the economic situation is difficult, and that the demands of society are growing for wood as a source of energy. Studies that were conducted in B&H by UNDP showed that annually in B&H, around 4,5 million cubic meters of forest are cut, which is about 30 percent of waste. The annual percentage of biomass as a fuel derived from wood waste amounts to 4,2 to 8,5 percent of the total consumption of primary energy.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection of Canton Sarajevo included itself in the protection of natural forests and forest vegetation, which seeks to continue the work on preserving biodiversity as part of its jurisdiction. The most effective legal and institutional and financial framework has been established, and through the institutions for the protection of natural areas that is managed from the areas of Skakavac, Bijambare and VreloBosne. More than 70 percent of the area of these legally protected parts is made up of forests and forest land that numerically means that from the 2.500 hectares, around 2.000 hectares are dependent on land.
In this area there are mainly forests with natural regeneration, which is economically not directly used, or there is a prohibition on cutting them down. Otherwise, one of the main goals for the protection of natural areas in the vicinity of the city of Sarajevo, which will soon add Trebević, is the preservation of the green belts of forests that have a natural recycling of polluted air and the guardian of water springs.
On the day marking the International Day of Forests on 21 March, the FB&H government decided to accept a grant for the financing of a project of sustainable forest management and landscape, under the agreement of the grant of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), concluded between B&H and the International Bank for Development and Reconstruction in the amount of 2,788,000 dollars. The aim of the project is to build the capacity of operators in the forestry sector and the demonstration of sustainable development of forest management and land.