The Czech and Moravian forests are no longer serving as the green lungs of the country. Due to the bark beetle calamity, thousands of hectares of green areas have been cut down since 2018. As a result of forest decay and intensified logging, they have become producers not of life-giving oxygen but of the harmful carbon dioxide they used to absorb. Therefore, scientists are trying to find new ways to keep the landscape vital and its soil full of nutrients until pristine forests grow.
Logging for bark beetles may have solved one problem, but many other issues have arisen. It doesn’t work that you plant new trees in a clearing and then just wait a few years for the landscape to green up again. It is not that easy. In the same way that clear-cutting was once done, foresters are now working with scientists and conservationists to find ways to plant new forests.
“Large-scale changes in forest landscapes have a major impact on biological processes in the soil, carbon fixation, and soil hydrology, as well as the cycles of nutrients and other elements that can leach from the soil into water streams,” Martin Valtera of Mendel University in Brno, who is working with colleagues to find ways to make the landscape as healthy as possible, said.
Experts point out that every tree matters. For example, roughly twenty-five meters tall, a single hundred-year-old beech tree has about 9,000 leaves, produces up to 1,000 liters of oxygen a day, and imaginatively feeds up to three people.
In the past five years, logging in the Czech Republic has almost doubled due to the fight against the bark beetle. But it has already stopped in many places, and forests are now being restored.