From October 9 to 15, 2016, the Belarusian Deputy Minister of Forestry Alexander Kulic as well as forest managers of the six Belarusian administrative districts and the director of forest management informed themselves about the sustainable and multi-functional management of German forests. Under the topic "Possibilities for Sus-tainable Forest Management in Intensively Used Forests: Experiences in Germany", the German Forest Society (DFV) and Sachsenforst organized the one-week forest excursion program.
With its 39% proportion of forest land, Belarus is one of the most densely wooded countries in Europe. During the last 60 years, the forest area has already been dou-bled and today it is about 9.4 million hectares. A further increase of forest land is planned, because the forestry sector is the largest employer in the country.
The delegation was welcomed by Daniel Gellner, head of the forestry department at the Saxon State Ministry for the Environment and Agriculture, saxony forest manag-ing director Prof. dr. Hubert Braun and DFV Managing Director Marcus Kühling in Graupa near Dresden, the management headquarters of the state-owned enterprise Sachsenforst.
Experiences and opinions were intensively exchanged after the presentation of Sachsenforst and its competence center for forestry. Large differences in the distri-bution of forest ownership as well as the responsibilities of the respective authorities prompted the discussions about forestry policy. In the forest district “Bärenfels” the group visited the permanent observation area for forest and climate monitoring "Al-tenberg" as well as the communal forest Altenberg and the forest of Tharandt on the topics "advice and preservation of the owner’s interests in the communal forest", "forest development" and "ecological forest conversion". The process chain "har-vesting", from forest management to timber sales, was also a further and important excursion focus for the guests, as these processes are currently being optimized in the Belarusian Forestry Administration.
Representatives of the nursery forest Naumburg (Saxony-Anhalt) guided the dele-gation into the forests around Halle and Naumburg with the focus on FSC certifica-tion and on the topic of "construction site communication" especially in forestry in-terventions near the city. The reforestation of forests and the creation of forest struc-tures, which are resilient to climate change, were discussed in the forest district of Leipzig. The open approach to the issue of wet forest sites in post-mining land-scapes was welcomed by the group.
The Lower Forestry Department of northern Saxony provided information on wildfire monitoring by means of a camera-based automated early wildfire detection system and the extent and interfaces of the various institutions / actors in the event of a wildfire. In Berlin representatives of the German Forestry Council explained the for-est policy work in Germany.
At the end of the delegation visit, a memorandum was signed between the Belarus-ian Ministry for Forestry and the German Forest Society in order to further establish and promote a professional exchange in the future. The first preparations for a re-turn visit have already started.
The delegation visit was supported by the ENPI-FLEG II program, funded by the World Bank and the European Union and implemented by the WWF Russia. Its aim is to improve forest law enforcement and governance. Instruments include roundtable discussions and this delegation trip carried out by the German Forestry Association.
Sabine Kühling (DFV) and Klaus Kühling (Saxon Forestry)