International conference for better management of public forests2007-06-14
Researchers, policy makers, representatives of public institutions, municipalities, and non-governmental organisations, and specialists from Latvia, Estonia and Poland gathered today, on the 14th of June, to the international scientific-practical conference devoted to the improvement of the management, organisation and economic regulation of public forest economy to discuss patterns for managing public forests in Lithuania and in the neighbouring states.
Head of the Forest Management Department at the Forest Faculty of the Agricultural University Associate Professor Juozapas Algirdas Mažeika reviewed development and prospects for the improvement of Lithuanian forest economy management, Deputy Director of the Forest Institute Dr Stasys Mizaras covered the economic aspects of the forest economy policy, and consultant of the forest industry association "Lietuvos mediena" Prof Antanas Monkevičius described the vision of the forest industry. Board member of state enterprise Valstybinių miškų centras, which administrates Estonian public forests, Olav Etverk reviewed the Estonian model for managing public forests, Director of the Forest Policy Department at the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture Janis Birgelis presented the Latvian experience and Head of the Division for Trade and Timber Products Marketing at the Polish General Directorate for Public Forests Tomasz Wójcik described the Polish situation. Discussions of the conference participants is another step in search of best ways to manage the Lithuanian forest economy.
The representative survey of the Lithuanian population recently conducted on commission from the Ministry of Environment also reflects a one-to-many approach to forest management. The call centre FONITEL phone-interviewed one thousand people aged over 18 from all Lithuanian counties. Twelve per cent of respondents provided a positive answer to the question whether public forests were managed and supervised adequately and about 30% a negative one, whereas more than half of respondents (57.6%) maintained the opinion that management was not bad, but could be better.
The survey showed that most residents (76.4%) consider the forestry district the most important level of public forest management. Furthermore, most respondents (89.6%) think that heads of forest enterprises must be appraised and rewarded according to their performance. More than half of the population (52.1%) had no opinion about how many companies, i.e. forest enterprises, should manage and supervise public forests. Eighteen point four per cent of respondents thought that all 42 current forest enterprises should be retained, and 12.1% were in favour of ten forest enterprises, one for each county. The same percentage of the population believed that one company, like in other European countries, would be sufficient. The least proportion of respondents (5.3%) supported the four forest enterprise model, i.e. one enterprise for each ethnographic region Aukštaitija, Dzūkija, Suvalkija and Žemaitija.
Public Information Division, Tel. 266 3660
14 June 2007