Fire-Hit Forests to Be Turned into Construction Zones after 10 Years

By 1 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 1, 2018 - The Croatian government on Thursday sent to the parliament a new draft act on forests whereby the duration of time for conversion of the forest land that was consumed by fire into construction zone will be extended from the current five years to ten years.

Outlining the draft law, Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić said that funds collected from payments for public beneficial functions of forests would be distributed in a better manner. Also, 90% of the current legal entities and individuals who are obliged to pay fees for public beneficial functions of forests will be exempted from this obligation.

The new law is expected to accelerate administrative procedures for exercising rights and establishing responsibilities regarding the use and management of forests and forest-covered areas.

Forests cover 47% of Croatian land and this share is not decreasing, the state-run forest management company Hrvatske Šume said in March 2016. Croatia does not conduct deforestation, the company boasted at the time, adding that the forest management was systematic and in accordance with long-term plans.

Forests cover 2,688,687 hectares, which represents 47% of Croatia's land territory. The state ownership of those resources is 78% and private 22%.

In Croatia, as much as 95% of forests have natural structure, with 260 indigenous tree species, and interventions are done only when natural regeneration is not possible, for instance after fires or due to sanitary logging.

In 2015, Croatia marked 250 years of organised forestry management.