Clean-up Needed to Avoid Bark Beetle Outbreak After Strong Winds Fell Trees

By , 12 Feb 2020, 12:28 PM Lifestyle
Ips amitinus Eichh., a kind of bark beetle that's common in Slovenia Ips amitinus Eichh., a kind of bark beetle that's common in Slovenia Flickr - Udo Schmidt, CC-by-SA-2.0

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STA, 11 February 2020 - Last week's windstorms caused extensive damage to Slovenia's forests - some 100,000 m3 of trees were felled, according to initial estimates. Due to a risk of bark beetle infestation, the authorities have urged the tree clean-up and removal to be carried out as soon as possible using precautionary measures.

Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec visited on Tuesday forest areas near Kranj in north-western Slovenia where the damage was most severe. In the Gorenjska region, some 70,000 m3 of trees were uprooted.

Pivec said that Monday's storm, which hit the north-east the most, had not been as damaging as last week's. However, in Slovenjska Bistrica the wind was uncovering roofs of more than 70 facilities, mostly apartment buildings and houses.

The minister pointed out that there had been two fatal accidents during work in forests recently, urging people to exercise extra caution and call clean-up services if they are not equipped or trained to do the work themselves.

The clean-up efforts should be sped up since the coming spring will potentially give rise to another bark beetle outbreak, with felled trees being the ideal hotspot for the development of the pest. Pivec called on forest owners to tap into EU funds for forest renewal.

The final estimates of the damage will be known in a week or two since the damage is scattered across the country. Slovenia has been quite lucky in seeing the best-case scenario given the severity of the storm, said Damjan Oražem, the head of the Forest Service.

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