More than 400 take part in tree planting campaign
Ljubljana, 13 October - Around 10,000 trees were planted by more than 400 volunteers at several locations in Slovenia on Saturday as part of an initiative organised by the state-owned SiDG forestry company in the wake of several disasters suffered by Slovenian forests in recent years.
President Borut Pahor was on hand in Kočevje, where the main part of today's campaign took place. Nearly 200 volunteers planted 3,100 trees in the most densely forested area of the country.
"Forests need our help because of natural disasters even though they can regenerate on their own in the long run. Today, we will try to contribute our share to regenerating forests and protecting nature," the president was quoted by SiDG.
Slovenian scouts also participated in the planting, which was supervised by foresters from SiDG and the national Forest Service.
The Regenerate the Forests initiative is part of a plan that includes the planting of around 450,000 tress on around 160 hectares this year alone.
Slovenian forests suffered substantially on three occasions in the past three years. In February 2014 they were hit by an ice storm, which then led to a bark beetle epidemic, while windthrow struck at the end of last year.
The ice storm caused EUR 216m in damage, the windthrow EUR 48m, while the preliminary estimate for the bark beetle-caused damage is EUR 150m.
According to Damjan Oražem of the national Forest Service, much work has already been done as regards the clean-up, but restoration is necessary now.
Nature will take care of the most, manual planting will be needed for around 1,700 of a total of 32,000 hectares. This entails planting around four million trees, which he expects will take several years.