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Throughout the history, growing stock has been one of the main indicators of the condition of forests. Together with the increment, fellings, forest area and the allowable cut, it forms a basic group of indicators used in monitoring the development of forests. These indicators serve as a basis for estimating the amount of biomass and carbon in a specific forest. The information about how these indicators have been changing through time is of vital importance.
In the last decades, the growing stock per hectare and the increment have been on a constant rise. According to the 2008 reports of the Slovenia Forest Service, the annual growing stock volume was 269 m3/ha, and the increment was 6.64 m3/ha. In the last 60 years, they increased by approximately 110%. The quantity of fellings depends not only on natural resources but also on socio-economic factors, which is why it has been changing through decades. According to the Slovenia Forest Service report, the quantity of fellings in 2007 was 3,427,372 m3.


In the Global Forest Assessment 2005, published by FAO, the following definitions of subindicators are listed:

Growing stock: Volume of all living trees with bark that have more than a certain diameter (X cm) at breast height (or above any irregularities in the form of the trunk). It includes the stem from ground level or stump height up to a given top diameter (Y cm), and may also include branches above the minimum diameter (W cm). In Slovenia, the minimum (X) is 10 centimetres, so all trees thicker than 10 cm are counted as growing stock. The minimum diameter (Y) is 5 centimetres. Branches are not included in the growing stock.

Increment: The average annual volume of increment over the reference period of all trees measured to a minimum diameter breast height (or above any irregularities in the form of the trunk). It includes the increment on trees which have been felled or died during the reference period.
Growing stock and increment are calculated based on the measurements of trees at permanent sample plots taken during the Forest Management Plan renewal. In some forests (if the site’s annual production capacity is less than 4 m3 per hectare), the growing stock and increment volume are estimated based on ocular assessment. The bases for determining the increment are two consecutive measurements within a given period (10 years).

Fellings: Average annual volume of all trees, living or dead, measured overbark to a minimum diameter that are felled during the given reference period, including the volume of trees or parts of trees that are not removed from the forest.
The method of taking inventory of fellings and the method of acquiring data on the growing stock and increment are defined in the Rules on the forest management and silviculture plans: Rules on the forest management and silviculture plans, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 5/1998 and Rules amending the Rules on forest management and silviculture plans, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 7/2006.


Charts

Figure GZ03-1: Growing stock
Sources: 

Slovenia Forest Service, 2009.

Show data
1947 1961 1970 1980 1990 2000 - 2005 2006 2007
conifers m3/ha 68.03 90.8 95.73 100.4 100.15 111.95 121.25 123.26 125.5
deciduous m3/ha 58.02 65.33 75.79 85.21 92.29 119.74 136.01 138.86 143.34
total m3/ha 126.05 156.14 171.52 185.6 192.43 231.69 257.26 262.12 268.84
2008 2009 2010
conifers m3/ha 126.73 128.39 129.37
deciduous m3/ha 145.13 147.69 149.52
total m3/ha 271.86 276.08 278.89
Figure GZ03-2: Increment
Sources: 

Slovenia Forest Service, 2009.

Show data
1947 1961 1970 1980 1990 2000 - 2005 2006 2007
conifers m3/ha 1.71 2.05 2.31 2.45 2.43 2.73 2.87 2.89 2.93
deciduous m3/ha 1.38 1.46 1.76 2.26 2.49 3.33 3.61 3.63 3.68
total m3/ha 3.09 3.51 4.08 4.71 4.92 6.06 6.48 6.52 6.61
2008 2009 2010
conifers m3/ha 2.94 2.98 3.02
deciduous m3/ha 3.7 3.76 3.83
total m3/ha 6.64 6.74 6.85
Figure GZ03-3: Fellings
Sources: 

Slovenia Forest Service, 2009.

Show data
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
conifers m3 1242503 1208318 1289585 1411275 1247957 1512284 1387932 1396052 1349117 1422750
deciduous m3 856090 959636 798081 843605 843953 818119 1179128 1074121 1047198 1186289
total m3 2098593 2167954 2087666 2254880 2091910 2330403 2567060 2470173 2396315 2609039
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
conifers m3 1458837 1496665 1822887 1820390 2033390 2242755 2042735 2055341 1853772 1808066
deciduous m3 1155464 1148889 1184211 1137607 1202710 1475508 1199335 1372031 1520419 1566071
total m3 2614301 2645554 3007098 2957997 3236100 3718263 3242070 3427372 3374191 3374137

Goals

The growing stock and increment values have increased significantly in the majority of Slovenian forests with the use of more suitable methods of identification. However, due to poor baseline data on the condition of growing stock and increment, the prognoses for their development and consequently the prognoses for the development of the allowable cut in Slovenian forests for the following decades, outlined in the Slovenian Forest Development Programme, are inadequate.


We are pleased to note that from the viewpoint of growing stock and increment, the Slovenian forests have been improving for decades. This is mainly due to systematic forest management, and partly due to the changes in the methodology of determining the growing stock (ocular estimation – control sample method).

The increment percentage in Slovenian forests is kept at a steady level compared to the growing stock. The allowable cut, whose realisation was only 75% in the last decade, is also following this trend.

In the article Forest Area Management Plans for the period 2001 – 2010, published in the Journal of Forestry, several simulations of the development of Slovenian forests and the annual allowable cut are shown (multi-purpose forests and forests with a special purpose where forest management measures are allowed are included) bearing in mind the valid data on forests (Figure 1).

The growing stock and increment values have increased significantly in the majority of Slovenian forests with the use of more suitable methods of identification. However, due to poor baseline data on the condition of growing stock and increment, the prognoses for their development and consequently the prognoses for the development of the allowable cut in Slovenian forests for the following decades, outlined in the Slovenian Forest Development Programme, are inadequate.

At the time of preparation of this projection, the growing stock was determined based on the 1998 Rules in less than half of the forest management units. Because the methodology has changed, and a significant increase in growing stock was recorded in Slovenian forests (which corresponds to the authors’ predictions; the simulations are also available in this article), the growing stock planned for 2010 was exceeded already in 2006.

Throughout the history, growing stock has been one of the main indicators of the condition of forests. Information on growing stock is of vital importance for the understanding of the dynamics and the production capacity of forests. It serves as a basis for the development of national policies and strategies for sustainable use of forest resources.

Together with the increment, fellings, the forest area and the allowable cut, it forms a basic group of indicators used in monitoring the development of forests. These indicators serve as a basis for estimating the amount of biomass and carbon in a specific forest. The information about how these indicators have been changing through time is of vital importance.

In the last five decades, the growing stock per hectare has increased by 108%, and the increment by 111%, while the fellings varied between 2,000,000 m3 (in 1991) and 3,700,000 m3 (in 2006), which was 100% increment in the 1950’s and less than 40% in the beginning of the 1990’s. Today, the fellings amount to approximately 50% of the increment. The reason for such large accumulation of growing stock in Slovenia and for such variation in increment lies in the rational management of forests.

When speaking of growing stock, increment or fellings, one must also indicate the structure by tree species and broader structure (coniferous and deciduous trees). The ratio between the coniferous and deciduous trees is changing constantly and was increasing in favour of coniferous trees until 1961, when the percentage of conifers was 58%. After 1961, the percentage of conifers began to decrease and in 2000 it dropped under 50%.

Fellings reflect the economic and social use of forest resources in the national economy and the dependent local communities. They contribute to the monitoring of sustainable use of forest resources by comparing the actual removal with the sustainable one.

According to the FAO Global Forest Assessment Study, the growing stock and increment in Slovenian forests in 2005 were much larger than in the rest of Europe. (Figure 2).
In Slovenia as well as in Europe, the growing stock and increment are increasing.

In 2000, the fellings in Europe were reported to be 614,000,000 m3, and in 2005 they were 672,000,000 m3. The positive trend is present in the majority of European countries, and the reason for this lies in the increase of forest areas and the increment. Fellings are strongly influenced by the market, which explains the significant variation between individual years. The ratio between fellings and increment is low and does not vary.

Assessment of the trend:

The assessment of the trend in Europe for the coming decades (TBFRA 2005) is the following:
• The forest surface area will continue to grow steadily;
• The trend of increment increase will stop because of the change in the age structure of forests, the change of species composition and the decrease in afforestation;
• Growing stock shall continue to increase;
• The trend of fellings is uncertain and depends on market-related factors as well as the supply situation. Based on the historical development in the last 50 years, a moderate increase is expected.

Similar assessments also apply to Slovenia. We expect the development to follow the guidelines set out in the draft National Forest Programme. Continued systematic forest management will help us come closer to the optimal average annual growing stock of 320-330 m3/ha. To achieve this, we will need to continue to accumulate the increment selectively and with moderation. Our estimate is that the indicator shall develop towards reaching the set objective.


How was the indicator measured?

To calculate the growing stock and increment volume at the level of individual forest management units, data acquired at permanent sample plots (major part) and by means of ocular assessment (minor part) are used. In the protective forests and forests with a special purpose where interventions are not allowed, mostly the ocular assessment method is used.
In all other types of forests (multi-purpose forests and forests with a special purpose where interventions are allowed), the abovementioned indicators are measured based on permanent sample plots that are distributed on the surface into a systematic grid with different degrees of density (from 200x200 m onwards). In each plot, the stand type is determined which serves as a basis for the stratification. Average values are calculated for each level of thickness (5 cm).
The basis for determining the increment are two consecutive measurements within a given period.
The manner of keeping an inventory of fellings is determined by the Regulation on the forest management and silviculture plans. The basis for keeping an inventory of fellings are the fieldwork data sheets for fellings where the trees intended for fellings are recorded according to the tree types, thickness levels, types and causes of fellings, the follow-up of works related to the decisions in the administrative procedure according to Articles 17 and 19 of the Act on Forests, and the inventory of unauthorised fellings. For each previous year, the data on fellings at the level of sections (E4 form), management class, ownership and forest management unit (in the EVP table) are entered into at least one copy of the Forest Unit Management Plan by the end of February. The 2007 values are lower because a new way of taking inventory of felled trees was introduced.
For forests where growing stock and increment are determined by means of permanent sample plots (500 m2), the fellings and the quantity of unexploited trees for the entire management period are independently evaluated based on the measurements taken at sample plots (Veselič 2005).

Data for Slovenia:
• name of the original database: Annual reports of the Slovenia Forest Service
• institution acting as the administrator of the database: Slovenia Forest Service
• description of the data source: Annual reports of the Slovenia Forest Service on forests
• data are shown for the period: growing stock and increment 1947 – 2008, fellings 1991 - 2008

Data for Europe:
• name of the original database: Global Forest Assessment 2005, Global Forest Assessment 2000,
• institution acting as the administrator of the database: UN FAO, Department of Forestry
• description of the data source: Data and analyses in the report were calculated based on reports from individual countries.

Sources:

o Slovenia Forest Service, Central Database of Forest Management Unit Plans, March 2007
o Veselič, Ž., Matijašić, D., 2002. Forest Management Unit Plans for the period 2001-2010, Journal of Forestry, Volume 60, Issue 10 (Dec. 2002), pp. 461-489.
o Slovenian national forest development programme, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 14/1996 of 8-3-1996.
o National Forest Programme, draft. March 2007,
o Rules on the forest management and silviculture plans, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 5/1998 of 23-1-1998, pp. 256 – 282.
o Rules amending the Rules on forest management and silviculture plans, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 70/2006 of 6-7-2006, pp. 7293-7298.
o National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP), Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no.. 83-3953/1999, p. 12765.
o Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005, UN FAO, Department of Forestry, 2006.
o Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000, UN FAO, Department of Forestry, 2001.
o Veselič, Ž., 2005. Illegal logging in Slovenia, Slovenia Forest Service


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