Last week, between 13 and 16 June, the Nature Conservation Programme in Macedonia, a project of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) organized an educational visit to the Emmental region in Switzerland for seven members of the working group for the Regional Forest Management Plan (RFMP) in Malesevo, so that they can gain experience in regional forest management in Switzerland. During this study visit, the working group representatives, who come from various institutions, got information about the regional forest management plan in Signau/Emmental which could be used as an example for the development and implementation of RFMP in Macedonia.
The main guide and organizer to the Emmental forest visit was Walter Marti, a retired forestry engineer with many years of experience and exceptional knowledge of the Emmental region. During the visit, Walter Marti and several other collaborators and stakeholders from the region shared their experience and the challenges they faced when developing RFMP in Emmental. All of these aspects are of great importance for the preparation of the RFMP in the Malesevo region, in the sense of getting guidelines, ideas and viewpoints for all individual phases of RFMP development and implementation.
During the visit the working group representatives had the opportunity to learn about various places and projects that were implemented in the region as part of the regional forest management plan. The participants were acquainted with the first steps from mono culture to mixed forests, the delivery systems and the cable system for transportation of forest assortments, use of timber for construction of bridges (old and new), roads, walls, a hockey hall, a market, wood chips central heating, the process of transition from even to uneven-aged forests; they visited perfect uneven-aged forests (visit to a research station); visit to old monumental trees; promotion of biodiversity; examples of protected forests and conflict resolution; examples of forest road infrastructure; forest functions in tourism (nature trails; signage; waste management) and conflict resolution between forest owners and visitors; examples and measures for landscape and nature conservation (visit to an eagle reservation); pasture maintenance and forest management. The visits covered the following locations: Bubeneiberg, Schüpbach, Toppwald, Emmenmatt, Lauperswil, Langnau, Trubschachen, Gibelwald and Trub.
We believe that the experiences gained in Switzerland will be of great help for the development in RFMP in Malesevo. The group that visited Switzerland comprised representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, the Faculty of Forestry in Skopje, PE Macedonian Forests, Berovo municipality, Manastir Hotel – Berovo as well as a representative of the Nature Conservation Programme in Macedonia.