Krokonoše National Park clears away fallen trees in fear of bark beetle infestation

Photo: L. Shyamal, Creative Commons 3.0

Krkonoše National Park in the north-west of the Czech Republic is trying to clear away fallen trees left in the park after winter in fear of bark beetle infestation. The park’s administration is offering people the chance to come and process the timber on their own for a symbolic price.

Photo: L. Shyamal,  Creative Commons 3.0
Heavy snowfall this winter has left a huge amount of fallen trees lying in the forests of Krkonoše National Park. According to the park’s foresters, it is one of the worse timber calamities in recent years.

“The trees simply snapped under the weight of the heavy snow,” Zdeněk Čermák of the park’s forest department told Czech Television.

Environmentalists worry that if the timber is not processed soon enough, it could be infested with bark beetle. However, forestry companies are busy dealing with timber calamities elsewhere in the country.

In order to clear away the fallen trees as soon as possible, the park’s foresters have called on people from nearby towns and villages to come and process the timber on their own. One cubic metre of timber is sold for ten crowns, which is seven times less than the usual price. According to the park’s spokesman, Radek Drahný, the price was set so low to attract as many people as possible. Timber for discount price will be available at least until the beginning of July.

The Czech Republic has faced a serious bark beetle calamity for several years in a row. According to experts, the current situation is the worst in the history of Czech forestry, with seven of the country’s 14 regions currently suffering infestations. They also warn the situation is likely to get even worse in the future.

The state-owned forestry company Lesy ČR felled 1.4 million cubic metres of calamity timber in the first quarter of this year, which is three times more than in the same period last year. The Czech Republic’s largely coniferous trees are very susceptible to the present climate conditions, especially heatwaves and droughts, and are very vulnerable to changes in the level of underground water.

The situation in Krkonoše National Park is not as serious as in other parts of the country, thanks to a colder and more humid climate. The park has also been successful in replacing the coniferous monocultures and renewing the traditional mixed forests, where diseases don’t spread so easily.