Croatian forest owners join CEPF

The Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) General Assembly welcomed Croatia as an ordinary CEPF Member at its General Assembly, taking place in April 2013. The interests of Croatian private and family foresters are represented by the Croatian Union of Private Forest Owners Associations (UPFOA).

UPFOA was founded in June 2008 and serves as an umbrella organization for the local private forest owners’ associations, 35 members in total. UPFOA’s main goal is to enhance the quality and economic value of forests and forest-based products and to improve the management of privately owned forests.

Forests in Croatia cover approximately 37% of the land area. Around 23% (593 027 ha) of the total forest area is privately owned and building a network for these new owners is a key challenge for sustainability following the "devolution" of these forest properties following the collapse of Yugoslavia.  77% (1 987 799 ha) remains in public ownership. The distribution of private forest ownership in Croatia is heterogeneous, diverging from 1% of privately owned forests to 57% in other regions. The average holding size in private forests is less than 1 hectare, and characterized by a low level of forest management. Public forests are either managed by a state-owned forest company or other state agencies, e.g. national parks.

About 97% of forests in Croatia are semi-natural forests (self-regenerated or planted or sown) and 3% are plantation forests. With around 75%, broadleaved forests are predominant forest type. Only 6% are coniferous and around 19% are mixed forests. The main species are Common beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Pedunculate and Sessile oaks (Quercus robur and Quercus petraea).

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