South face of Gerlach

New Slovakian government unveils potent support for wilderness

The Slovakian government, newly elected on 29th February,  has announced strong protection for wilderness, forests and conservation generally.

Gerlachovsky stit in the High Tatras – Slovakia’s precious heritage deserves the respect of conservation

The programme presented by Prime Minister Igor Matovic introduces three measures of particular importance:

  1. In national parks at least 50% of land will be left unmanaged, promoting fullest re-establishment of natural ecosystem processes and resilience through a land use zonation system.
  2. Administration of protected areas will be unified under the Ministry of Environment, a move long requested by the conservation movement
  3. Increased public scrutiny of forest operations will be encouraged. A mobile phone app will be available for mass use to monitor logging and timber transport, and full forest management programmes with logging data are to be publicly available.

“This is excellent news, in particular for Slovakia’s spectacular remaining wild forests and their wildlife”, said Toby Aykroyd of Wild Europe “It reflects measures called for at our November conference in Bratislava, for which her Excellency Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova kindly proved patronage. The reforms will be widely welcomed throughout Europe”.

Other measures include establishment of a state forest ecofund and preparations for the emergence of potential markets with selected forest ecosystem services.

Preference should be given to nature-friendly management in areas of active forestry. In state forests, including those under military aegis, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification will be mandatory – and encouraged in non-state forests. There will also be a new law correlating forestry and nature protection to eliminate contradictory management. 

Lower Tatras – rapacious logging rapidly transforms a landscape

Compensation will be offered to private sector owners. Control and monitoring of forestry will be undertaken by an independent entity. 

Wild Europe looks forward to liaising with the Slovak government to assess what elements of their reforms could have potential wider replication within the Green Deal framework, and among non EU states.