The beloved pine forests around the Bolevec ponds in Plzeň, Czech Republic, are in dire straits. Suffering from the effects of a prolonged dry spell, the number of dead and dying trees in this popular recreational area has been rapidly increasing. This year’s drought has dealt a devastating blow to the pines, which lends much character to the Plzeň landscape.
Richard Havelka from the city’s Public Estate Administration explains the severity of the situation. “The number of dead trees in this location is increasing,” he says. “Two years ago, it was three hundred to four hundred cubic meters. This year, it’s around a thousand. Translated, that means about four hectares of forest will have to be felled. But it won’t be a wholesale clearing – the dead trees are scattered throughout the forest.”
The long-term drought manifests its effects gradually. Trees react with a delay, and the last two years have hit particularly hard. Havelka anticipates a similar situation in the coming year.
The loggers will embark on felling the affected trees at the beginning of next year. “And they will continue until all the dead trees are removed, hopefully by spring,” Havelka notes. Most of the wood will be sold, with about a fifth to a quarter going for firewood.
However, Havelka reassures that the drought has not significantly damaged the city’s Christmas tree plantations. “Young trees survive the best,” he observed. Therefore, from the 2nd of December, there will be about six hundred trees for sale, just like in previous years.