Windstorms require Natural Restoration | WWF

Windstorms require Natural Restoration

Posted on 14 January 2005
Storms not only cause economic and social losses but also damages to biodiversity, making close to nature restoration after Windstorms a must according to WWF.

Recent windstorms in Slovakia and Sweden caused severe forest damage. In Slovakia mid November 2004 the most heavily damaged area was Tatra National Park covering 2.5 million cubic meters of softwood, which represents 90 percent of the annual extraction in this category of wood in Slovakia.

Similarly, early January a big windstorm swept from the UK through northern Denmark and Southern Sweden. The damages particularly in Swedenare higher than expected covering 75 million cubic meters.

WWF believes that storm fall needs to be treated as natural process through close to nature restoration requiring sufficient amounts of deadwood to be left on the ground, replanting with indigenous species and avoiding the use of chemicals and radical infrastructural development in the area.

WWF calls on landowners not to cut away the high stumps, dead trees and particularly those retention trees that have been identified as ecologically important during certification processes.

"Replanting with native species is a precautionary measure for the future", said Daniel Vallauri, WWF Forest specialist. "The emphasis on even-aged, evenly thinned stands in forest management has diminished the resistance and natural regeneration ability of forests. In particular the replacement of mixed forests with pure crops (especially of spruce or poplar) has led to these pure forests being particularly susceptible to disturbances like storms.

The small forest owners that were struck by the Swedish storm, must gain help from industry and authorities to restore their forests to an ecologically sounder state, by these measures also guaranteeing a more wind-proof forest for the future, Hasse Berglund, forest officer from Sweden says. If we do not change forestry in southern Sweden we will be hit again soon, with the same tragic consequenses for nature and people."

For further information: 
Helma Brandlmaier
Communications Officer, WWF European Forest Programme
Tel.: +43 676 84 2728 219 (mobile)