Current state of forests in Vojvodina
The total area of forests and forestland covers 175,136.05 ha (Public Company “Vojvodinašume” manages the area of 130,589.26 ha, whereas private forests cover the area of 5,567.09 ha, water management companies account for 7,575 ha, agricultural organisations 5,989 ha, local communities 722 ha, Military Institution “Karađorđevo” accounts for 2,243 ha and Public Company National Park “Fruška gora” 22,450 ha), which accounts for 8.10% of the total area of Vojvodina. However, the forest area comprises 140,717.68 ha, so that actual level of afforestation amounts to only 6.51%.
Most of these forests are in the state ownership comprising the area of 135,191.33 ha or 96.07%, whereas the forest area of 5,567.09 ha, i.e. 3.96% is in the private ownership.
State forests are managed by the following four forest holdings of the PC “Vojvodinašume” of Vojvodina: “Sremska Mitrovica”, “Novi Sad”, “Sombor” and “Banat” Pančevo.
Most state-owned forests represent whole and separate entities such as: Fruška Gora National Park, Deliblato Sands, Vršac Hill, Subotica Sands, Valleys of the Sava, the Danube, the Tamis and the Tisa. Remaining 10% of forests is scattered around the area of 2,000,000 ha.
According to information of S.Vlatković (1986), the share of forests and non-forest vegetation accounted for: below 1% in 12 municipalities, comprising the area of 460,600 ha or 21.40% of the total area of Vojvodina; from 1-2% in the following 10 municipalities, comprising the area of 386,500 ha or 18 % of the total area; from 2-5% in 5 municipalities, covering the area of 372,700 ha or 17.30% of the total area; from 5-10% in 7 municipalities, comprising the area of 418,800 ha or 19.50% of the total area; from 10-15% in 5 municipalities, with the area of 281,700 ha or 13.10% of the total area; and over 15% in 5 municipalities, comprising the area of 231,000 ha or 10.70% of the total area.
The overview of the actual state best proves extremely poor situation in terms of distribution of forests in Vojvodina. There are vast areas, which represent the whole entities comprising the territory of 500,000 ha, with the afforestation level hardly reaching 1%, as well as areas of around 100,000 ha with afforestation of less than 1%. In addition to economic benefits manifested in wood material production, the forests have a number of general benefits, which, by its significance, are far beyond the economic ones (such as, binding of carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing greenhouse effect, alleviating climate changes, protecting the soil from water and aeolic erosion, protecting tilled land from overdrying, preservation of biodiversity in forest and neighbouring eco-systems, preservation of the genofund of forest tree varieties etc.)
Along with the economic benefits manifested in wood material production (for example over the last 40 years the willow and poplar wood production increased by six times and the value of the wood assortments by more than 16 times), the forests also have the whole range of general benefits which exceed the economic ones.
What is the greatest benefit of thus established Public Company “Vojvodinašume” is that forest holdings and forest administrations have become profitable centres disposing of earned income to the greatest extent. Additionally, all forest holdings earmark one percent of their income for development. Furthermore, from this Fund researches into new poplar and willow varieties as well as upgrading of wood production and other forest features are funded. This investment into science is aimed at improving the quality of forests, increasing the yield of both wood and other resources, such as the agricultural ones, since there are no, neither will be good crops without protective belts.
Unless new forests are timely planted, i.e. the level of the afforestation in the Province is increased from the current 6% to 14%, Vojvodina is threatened to turn from the environmentally friendly region into a proper wasteland.