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On 17th July 2002 the European Commission officially approved three years lasting project concerning the protection of forest resources in Central Europe (QLK1-CT-2002-30315/ PROFOREST) within the framework of the Programme: Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources. Independent experts estimated high (the average 4,85 of maximum 5 points) the proposal to establish the Centre of Excellence at the Forest Research Institute in Warsaw.
The PROFOREST Centre of Excellence at the Forest Research Institute in Warsaw (FRIW) has as its aim to launch, pursuit and stimulate the process of integration of forest scientists in Central European countries and EC Member States, in protection of forest resources in Central Europe. The location of PROFOREST at the FRIW is a testimony of the Institute's 70-year history and experience, and knowledge of its researchers in protection of forest and its resources against insects, pathogens, fires, air pollution, game animals; protection of water and soil, conservation of biodiversity and gene resources, and nature conservation in general. The PROFOREST serves integration of researchers in formulating joint grants, strengthening personal contacts and ever closer Europe-wide cooperation. It also fosters development of forest sciences in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and better management of forests also for future generations.
The research interest of the Institute covers all the forests in Poland, irrespective of their forms of ownership or management, or the type pf protection to which they are subject. Poland is regularly the zone of conflict between two major climates: oceanic from the West and continental from the East, influencing the life of forest trees. Consequently Poland is affected by movements of industrial air pollution going across Europe in north-east direction, this being the cause of the forest dieback and locally environmental disasters noted in the Sudety Mountains in 1970-80-ties. Moreover, climatic factors and weather anomalies combined with anthropogenic factors made the trees more vulnerable to fungal diseases and attacks of insects. Consequently large-scale pest outbreaks occurred, with the nun moth and other pest species needing to be fought over 5.6 million ha of forest in the 1980-ties. Many fugal diseases had also their deal in worse state of forest stands, resulting in economic losses.
The events mentioned above and the profound knowledge of forest scientists working at the Institute, their long years of field experience, successes in forestry practice and international cooperation were the premises for the Forest Research Institute in Warsaw to apply for being designated as a PROFOREST Centre for protection of forest ecosystems and their resources in Central Europe.
The PROFOREST Centre is located in the middle of European forests and it deals with many pure science and applied research problems of forest sciences; therefore it would facilitate contacts between researchers of the East and West, North and South of the continent. It would then be possible to collect successfully the forest knowledge together, to exchange details of methodologies and research techniques, to offer contacts between young researchers and students and to be a host for meetings, workshops and seminars devoted to protection of forests and their resources.
Numerous conferences, meetings, scientific fellowships and training sessions are organised with the participation of the Institute and the PROFOREST Centre, in cooperation with the State Forests and the National Parks Offices. Researchers, practitioners, and students from local and European areas come here for to know more on pathogenic phenomena, causes of forest succession, to collect material for research and comparative assessments.
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