Recovery of damaged forests to cost around EUR 20 million

RTANJ - Initial estimates suggest that it will cost EUR 20-25 million to repair the damage to Serbian forests caused by a cold wave late last year and renew them, Srbijasume acting director Predrag Aleksic said on Friday.

It has been ascertained that 20,000 hectares of state-managed forests have been affected by the damage, while the information on damage to privately-owned forests will be known next week, Aleksic said at a press conference on Mt. Rtanj, near Boljevac, eastern Serbia.

The damage to forests caused by the cold wave in late November and early December 2014 totals nearly 500,000 cubic metres of wood, Aleksic said, announcing that efforts to repair the damage to state-owned forests will start next week.

In all countries that have been hit by similar natural disasters the state joined the efforts to solve this problem, he said, adding that the forest management company cannot deal with it on its own.

The damage caused by the cold wave is huge - economically, environmentally and socially, Aleksic said.

The costs include cutting and removing trees, restoring the forest order and reforestation, and the priority measures aimed at repairing the damage will remain in place for at least three years, he said.

It will take at least 35 years to repair the damage completely and restore the forests to pre-disaster condition.

A lack of qualified workforce for repairing the damage and cutting damaged trees is also a problem because it is very dangerous work, but Srbijasume will strive to minimise the risk to workers as much as possible, Aleksic said.

After the press conference, representatives of the Srbijasume management and the working team visited the Boljevac forest farm on Mt. Rtanj.

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