edited by Stanisław Zając and Wojciech Gil







Economic and social problems of increasing forest cover in Europe


Afforestation of former agricultural land as a political question – Andrzej Szujecki


Afforestation – scale and importance of the problem, current state and programme execution – Zofia Chrempińska


Afforestation in the State Forests – Janusz Zaleski


Future of forestry in rural development – Anssi Niskanen


Rural areas and their economic and social characterization in view of the development of forest economy – Lech Płotkowski


Economic aspects of the National Programme for the Augmentation of Forest Cover (NPAFC) in Poland – Stanisław Zając, Ryszard Kwiecień


Meeting the goals of sustainable forest management for sustainable development in Poland – problems and prospects – Lubow Andruszko


Significance of shelterbelts for sustainable development of rural areas – Stanisław Bałazy, Lech Ryszkowski


Current knowledge on afforestation and possibilities of land use optimization – Jozef Tutka, Július Ďurkovič


Planting stock quality and new practices of afforestation – crucial factors for successful afforestation programme – Milan Sarvaš


The role of fast growing tree species in the afforestation programme of the Great Hungarian Plain (the Alföld) – Ernő Führer, Károly Rédei, Imre Csiha


Broadleaved trees species on abandoned agricultural land in Estonia – Aivo Vares, Veiko Uri, Hardi Tullus


Measures for successful afforestation of marginal farmland in Latvia – Mudrite Daugaviete


Afforestation of non-forest land and land unused in agriculture in Slovakia again actual – Anna Tučeková


Natural, silvicultural and protective aspects of afforestation of former agricultural land


Self-seeding and sowing as factors supporting afforestation of farmlands – Andrzej Gorzelak, Jan Łukaszewicz


Afforestations in the Regional Directorate of the State Forests in Olsztyn – experiences and future plans – Ryszard Ziemblicki


Afforestation in the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Szczecinek – Adam Potocki


Afforestation of farmlands in the Wielkopolska region – Andrzej Węgiel


Mycorrhiza and practical possibilities of its use in afforestation of ex-agricultural land – Kazimierz Szabla, Stefan Kowalski


The importance of planting material in efficient afforestation of post-agricultural land in Poland – Jan Łukaszewicz


Problems of afforestation in river valleys – Mikołaj Mikułowski


The role of agricultural plants as indicators in the attempt of classification of forest site types – Paweł Rutkowski, Irmina Maciejewska-Rutkowska


Constrains of oak silviculture on the post agricultural areas in the light of the European Oak Decline Phenomenon – Tomasz Oszako


Tree species composition and growth of the self-regenerated forests and forest plantations on abandoned agricultural land in Lithuania – Gintautas Urbaitis


The succession of phytocenoses with grey alder - Alnus incana (L.) Moench as an indicator of possibility of postpioneer species use for afforestation of post-agricultural lands in Carpathian mountains – Sławomir Ambroży


Christmas tree plantations as a one of possibilities of post-agricultural land management – Andrzej Gorzelak


Cultivation of fast-growing tree and shrub seedlings on post-agricultural land – Kazimierz Zajączkowski


Effect of revitalisation treatments (mineral and organic fertilisation) on nutri- tional status of pine plantations established on post-agricultural land – Ireneusz Olejarski


The possibilities of protection of afforested areas against weeds – Szymon Krajewski, Piotr Zajączkowski


A critical assessment of the effect of full deep plowing to break up soil compaction – Paweł Rutkowski


Implementation of the National Programme for the Augmentation of Forest Cover in Nidzica Forest District – Andrzej Sobotko, Piotr Rogalski, Tomasz Sobotko


Experiences and prospects regarding afforestations in Europe – summary of the international scientific conference – Stanisław Zając, Wojciech Gil



Afforestations constitute Man’s basic obligation to the forests, one that has grown over the centuries. But they can only partly redress the imbalance caused by the appearance of Homo sapiens and the deforestation process accompanying his actions. The intensity of this deforestation has varied across Europe. Its culmination in the 13th 14th centuries was followed by a certain slowing of the pace of deforestation, but with the beginning of the 16th century, the pace of deforestation picked up once again. For the next few centuries, Europe went by the motto “Change trees into men”, the result of the forest economy becoming less competitive than other forms of land use.

It was only in the 20th century that any changes occurred in the forestry policy of the European states. A process of slow return of forest began in some areas. However, according to many experts, the level of forest cover in Europe is still far from the optimum, this being today dictated by society’s completely new preferences and expectations with regard to forests. The situation is similar in Poland, despite a significant growth in forest cover since the Second World War, from 21 to 28%. The transformation of the country’s political and economic system undertaken at the beginning of the nineties of the 20th century meant a radical limitation to the amount of land that could be used for agriculture. Already by then, the debates begun by among others the former Council for the Countryside and Agriculture under President Wałęsa, pointed to the advisability of afforestations on considerable areas where the soil was of only marginal value for agriculture. Further work in this direction, crowned by the 1997 “State Forest Policy”, written by the then Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection, Prof. Andrzej Szujecki, and the 1995 National Programme for the Augmentation of Forest Cover developed at the National Forests Research Institute (along with its modification in 2002), clearly show the need to increase Poland’s forest cover to 33%. Invaluable assistance in the fulfilment of this programme was the conference entitled “Afforestations in Europe – Experiences and Prospects”, organised by the Forest Research Institute and the Regional Office of National Forests in Olsztyn.

The result of this conference is the Forest Research Institute’s publication of a monograph on the afforestation of former agricultural lands. We trust that making this afforestation research work and studies generally available to readers will contribute to further development of forests in Poland and even in Europe.

Prof. Andrzej Klocek
of the Forest Research Institute


Afforestation means the initiation of a forest creation process and the reproduction of a forest ecosystem on lands that are of little or absolutely no use for other forms of land management. Apart from its economic functions, the task of afforestation is to ensure restitution of the natural environment, especially by strengthening and extending the protective functions of the forest. Confirmed declarations with regard to augmenting forest areas are documents of the highest rank, shaping forest policy at the global, regional (European) and national levels (for example Agenda 21, the Forestry Operations Programme formulated by the EU Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development and national programmes for augmenting forest cover). They show that afforestation programmes should not be perceived as only an alternative to agricultural forms of land use, but first and foremost as a precondition for improvement in the quality of life of local communities, rationalisation of the structure of the country’s natural spaces and nature preservation as well as the enrichment of the bio-diversity of land-based ecosystems.

In Poland, the National Programme for the Augmentation of Forest Cover (KPZL) anticipates for afforestation of about 1.5 million hectares to the year 2050 and expansion of forest cover to 33%. Likewise extremely ambitious are the plans for afforestation of other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, especially Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia and Hungary.

The balanced development of rural areas, new possibilities for financing afforestation projects from state budgets or EU funds as well as technical and technological solutions for the afforestation of waste lands and marginal soils are some of the more important aspects of afforestation that are met with on a daily basis. Improvement in scientific knowledge, practical solutions and the recommendation of directions for operations in this field are all made possible by the sharing of know-how with regard to practical afforestation as well as organisational, socio-economic and political solutions. This task is fulfilled by the PROFOREST Training Centre, which was established at the Forestry Research Institute in Warsaw in April 2003.

It is this Centre’s task to establish and stimulate integration of Europe’s forestry experts in the field of forest resources protection. This permits an exchange of know-how concerning research methods, the management of joint grants, personal contacts and a tightening up of scientific co-operation. It permits development of forestry sciences in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as better management of forests in order to maintain them for future generations.

Within the framework of scientific co-operation, numerous conferences and seminars are organised in Europe every year, focusing on a broad range of forestry issues. Their results provide scientific and practical premises for rational decisions concerning the future of European forests.

The publication we are providing our readers constitutes the current status of this discussion and also a summary of existing knowledge on the shape and future of afforestation work in Europe. It includes several valuable studies on forestry science and practice, which due to their comprehensive nature, provide the reader orientation with regard to the majority of issues concerning the present-day natural history and social and economic problems of afforestation. We trust that a reading of this publication will contribute to the best possible fulfilment of afforestation programmes, from both the organisational and practical point of view. These studies have been printed in Polish or English, in order to ensure that their content agrees with the texts supplied by the authors.

The publication of this study was possible thanks to the help and co-operation of many individuals and institutions. We would like to first and foremost warmly thank the book’s co-authors for the preparation of the studies included. We also thank Prof. Jan Zajączkowski and Dr. Ryszard Kwiecień for their expert opinions on the work, the Editorial Committee of Wydawnictwo Instytutu Badawczego Lesnictwa (Forestry Research Institute Publications) for their help in the preparation of the final version for print, and Narodowy Fundusz Ochrony Środowiska i Gospodarki Wodnej (the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management) for defraying the publication costs.

Stanisław Zając i Wojciech Gil

Warsaw, December 2003