The first live meeting of the FORECO project was held from 20th to 21th April in Slovenia, organized by the project partners from the Department of Forestry and Renewable Resources of Biotechnical Faculty.
The first day was held at the Department of Forestry in Ljubljana. All the partners presented updates on the progress of the work packages, from ground-based empirical approaches to remote sensing and dynamic global vegetation modelling, and ended the day with a delicious dinner in a local restaurant, tasting Slovenian specialities.
The program of the second day consisted of a field workshop with local stakeholders (Slovenia Forest Service, Slovenian State Forest Company, Slovenian Forestry Institute). Representatives of the local units of Slovenia Forest Service and State Forest Company led the tour in two field sites at different stages of recovery after large and severe disturbances, where the Department of Forestry established study plots to monitor recovery dynamics. These included sites damaged by a combination of ice-storm and bark beetle disturbance in 2014 and windthrow sites from 2008. We visited disturbed stands in central Slovenia, close to Logatec, where an extremely destructive ice-storm and bark beetle outbreak, which severely damaged spruce trees, was followed by salvage logging and replanting. Here forests are recovering slowly as a combination of shallow soils and heavy browsing by red deer are negatively affecting the regeneration. Our tour featured an overview of the typical small-scale forest management in Slovenia and a glimpse at the forest operators in action. Afterwards, we drove to Črnivec, a pre-Alpine mountain pass in Northern Slovenia, which was hit by a severe windthrow in 2008 and was subsequently salvage logged and replanted. This is a fertile site where regeneration is growing well in the lower part of the slope, but largely hindered by the competition from the herb layer at higher elevations. The workshop sparked many discussions on the management strategies to cope with the consequences of large and severe disturbances and was appreciated by both stakeholders and project partners.