Eco-Activists Rally Against Forest Monoculture in Czech Republic

Czech eco-activists from the Rainbow Movement (Hnutí Duha) held a demonstration on Wednesday, demanding an end to treating forests as timber factories and to halt the cultivation of forest monocultures. The protest centered on proposing a forestry law amendment that could potentially enable the practices above.

Jaroslav Soukup, a representative of the Rainbow Movement, expressed the group’s concerns at the demonstration in front of the Ministry of Agriculture. They drew attention to the potential impacts of the proposed forestry law amendment. The movement submitted their remarks on the forestry law amendment during their happening: “Don’t shave the forests bald! We don’t want a return of monocultures!”

The ecologists argue that the proposal, which ends the interdepartmental comment procedure on Friday, disrupts the so far valid obligation to enrich spruce monocultures with deciduous trees and firs and also goes against biodiversity. “The Ministry claims that it is enough to support deciduous trees in forests financially and not require them from owners. In 2022, the proportion of the area planted with deciduous trees decreased by 6.5 percent yearly. In addition, the ministry wants to allow the planting of monocultural plantations without them,” warned Jan Skalík from the Rainbow Movement.

The Rainbow Movement submitted 57 comments and warned that the law would be a step backward without changes to some paragraphs. The ecologists and 85,000 people who have signed the Save the Forests appeal since 2018 are disappointed that the permitted area of clear-cuts is not reduced in addition to eliminating the obligation of a minimum share of deciduous trees.

However, ecologists perceive the extension of the reforestation period from two to five years as a partial positive, which will increase the chances of natural forest renewal. According to the Ministry’s plans, the new forestry law should take effect in 2025.