STA, 6 April 2019 - Around 10,000 trees were planted by more than 670 volunteers at several locations in Slovenia on Saturday as part of a campaign launched by the state-owned SiDG forestry company last year to help Slovenian forests recover from several disasters they were hit by in recent years.
This is the second year that 10,000 new tress were planted as part of the campaign and the organisers hope this will become an annual event. In October 2018, some 400 volunteers took part, so this year's turnout was a pleasant surprise.
School children, students, teachers, employees from several Slovenian companies and other volunteers planted spruce trees, larch, beech trees, cherries, pears and hazelnut trees in the forests around Kočevje, Ravnik pri Logatcu, Lovrenc na Pohorju, and Postojna.
Agriculture, Forestry and Food Minister Aleksandra Pivec joined the teem in Lovrenc. "Such campaigns are a good way to raise awareness of the importance of forests," she said.
The minister is particularly happy that many different institutions and generations joined the project. She would like forest owners to also help rejuvenate the forests.
"By rejuvenating the forests that have been damaged, we are helping forests to preserve their many roles which are crucial for our lives," said Zlatko Ficko, the head of the SiDG.
The most volunteers, 240, gathered in Kočevje. More than a hundred of them were scouts.
The Rejuvenate the Forests initiative 2019 has been backed by the Agriculture Ministry, the National Forest Service, the Nature Conservation Institute, the Association of the Slovenian Catholic Scouts and the Scout Association of Slovenia.
It is also a part of the annual Day For Change campaign organised today by the Slovenian Philanthropy, encouraging people to stand up against discrimination and become volunteers at least for a day.
Slovenian forests suffered substantial damage in recent years. In February 2014 they were hit by an ice storm, which led to a bark beetle epidemic, while windthrow struck at the end of 2017.
In the last five years, more than 16 million cubic metres of trees or 65% of Slovenian forests were damaged in natural disasters. Some 95% of the damaged forests will regenerate by itself, while in the remaining 5% of the areas tree planting will be required.
Since the 2014 ice storm, some 1.5 million tress were planted in 600 hectares of privately-owned and state forests. In state-owned forests, 850,000 trees will be planted this year.