Exchange for Sustainability


Sustainable forestry in times of climate change

Report of Myroslav Kabal, Ukraine, about his time in Germany in October 2019

I am the head of the Forest Laboratory in the Biosphere Reserve of the Carpathians, Rachiv, Transcarpathian Region, Ukraine. My current main tasks are:
-the recording of the structure of forest cover and natural regeneration in primeval forests and secondary forests;
-the renaturation of spruce monocultures to semi-natural forests;
- Forest management in the various protected areas of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve.

I participated in the Forest Expert Program in October 2019. During this program I had the opportunity to get to know different aspects of forestry and nature conservation in Germany: from the Bavarian Alps, through the Thuringian forests, to the island of Rügen. The one-month program offered me a variety of insights, such as sustainable forest management in times of climate change, protection forest management, Natura 2000 management, nature reserve management, forest applications of GIS, forest legislation, forest research and monitoring as well as forest pedagogy.

Sustainable forestry is based on the idea of the lasting existence of forests. Sustainable forest systems integrate a wide range of functions: economic use (such as wood and hunting), conservation of biodiversity (through habitat trees and deadwood), avalanche protection, water conservation, recreation, religious aspects and many more.
In recent years, the problems have increased in the monoculture forests - bark beetle in spruce, dry beech, sponge spinner in oak, sick ash and elm trees, storm damage, etc. Logically, the question arises: which species next? Which "forest face", which tree species, which forest structure do we need in 20, 50 or 100 years? It has been shown that the most stable and safest forest ecosystems under the effects of climate change consist of at least 4-5 different tree species. Monoculture forests, on the other hand, with a 1-layer structure are very susceptible to various disruptions in the future. The motto at Thüringen Forst is therefore: "Our opportunity in times of climate change: the forest conversion". The goal of this forest conversion is to create stable and multifunctional mixed forests with 5 or more tree species and 3 layers of trees. The species composition and structure of the individual stands is determined taking into account the soil, the current terrain climate and the 100-year climate forecast.

All the experience gained helps me to better understand the current strategies for sustainable forest management and nature conservation management. At the same time I take the new strategies to my home country to look for solutions to the problems of the Biosphere Reserve of the Carpathians. This helps me to find new ways to solve the problems of the Biosphere Reserve of the Carpathians.

I would also like to highlight the unforgettable insights into German culture and German hospitality. I thank all my colleagues for the warm welcome and invite you all to visit the Ukraine and the Carpathians.
I remain open to new contacts and ideas and hope to work with our German colleagues in the future as well.
Thank you for organising this great exchange program and all the people who accompanied me during the stay.

Myroslav Kabal