Іntegrated watershed principle for forest management as the tool of enhancement of hydrological role of forests

was one of the main topic of professional forestry discussion, started in May and June of this year in Slovakia, followed by first joint field seminar in Zakarpattya region (Perechyn district) on July 7 and 8, and continued ar this second Ukrainian joint field seminar in Zakarpattya region (Svalyava district) on September 10 and 11 in framework of HYDROFOR project. The seminar gathered more than 50 participants, namely: from Slovakia there were partners from National Forest Center in Zvolen, representatives of forest management of different ownership types and nature protection areas from Presov region of Slovakia; on the side of Ukraine there were representatives of State Forest Agency of Ukraine (M.Dutka), oblast forest administrations and enterprises and nature protection areas from Zakarpattya (F.Homonaj) – and Svaliava, Volovets, Mukachevo and Mizhhirya districts, as well as from Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernihiv and Lviv regions, partners of the project from Ukrainian research institute of mountainous forestry (UkrRIMF) in Ivano-Frankivsk (V.Parpan, V.Korzhov, T.Parpan), representatives of Uzhhorod national university (A.Myhal, A.Zadorozhnyi) and National forest technical university of Ukraine in Lviv (I.Kulchytskyi-Zhyhailo, N.Kozii) , forest inventory specialists from Ukrainian state forest inventory institute (H.Chaika) and Lviv forest inventory expedition (I.Bokalo), representatives of the department of ecology and natural resources of Zakarpattya regional state administration (Yu.Shpontak) and FORZA NGO representatives. First, introductory part of the seminar, contained presentations which explained goal and main milestones and achievements of HYDROFOR project, particularly Lesya Loyko, head of NGO FORZA, presented preconditions of project development and respectively, its goal, structure and implementation logic, starting from the current state mapping and finishing with elaboration of practical recommendations for foresters, aimed at enhancement of hydrological functions of forests through forest management practices. Hydrological role of forests in Latorytsa river basin was presented by professor Vasyl Parpan, Doctor of Biology, director of UkrRIMF, scientific expert of HYDROFOR project, particularly taking closer look at the components of hydrological role of forests and bringing attention to the importance of introduction of watershed management principle to the forest management system, which ensures sustainable forest resources use with the proper implementation of forest functions at the same time. Yuriy Derbal, expert of HYDROFOR project, shared with the participants some results, elaborated jointly by Ukrainian and Slovakian partners within the project, particularly on the interrelation between forest management systems and methods and flood protection, influence of forests and trees over water balance in watersheds, mitigation of floods and droughts, as well as approaches and results of simulation of forest management practice and its influence over water regime in watersheds and recommendations for foresters upon improvement of forest management for enhancement of the hydrological role of forests. Role and impact of forest transportation network and possibilities of enhancement of hydrological role of forest areas through improvement of forest infrastructure was explained by another expert of HYDROFOR project, Volodymyr Korzhov, PhD, first deputy director of UkrRIMF Ivan Sachkov, expert of the National Forest Center, Zvolen, presented the innovations in silvicultural practices and current approaches with application of GIS-technologies and remote system mapping and assessment of forests in Slovakia, results and conclusions about the benefits of laser scanning of the areas, including forest areas. Field program of the first day of the seminar consisted of visits to demonstration plots Hydrofor - Polyana, located in Polyana forestry of SE "Svalyava forest management unit". The plot with total area of 562 hectares, including - 468 hectares covered with forest, is located in the height of 300-800 a.s.l. Forest coverage of the watershed is over 83%. Forest stands grow within the watershed mainly on slopes of 10-25 degrees, and are presented by natural beech stands, with the participation of beech, oak, maple, ash, larch, Douglas fir and others. 61.2% are classified by forest management planning as group-uneven-aged stands 70-170 years with close-to-nature type, 23.2% - remote one, and 11.7% and 3.9% accordingly - to the type of transition and derivative because of their age, vertical and horizontal structure. Local community recently built several water intake structures in demonstration watershed, which is also rich in qualitative water; to meet the needs in drinking water for residents and businesses in the Polyana village, including tanks for cleaning of spring water from the leaves, branches, small earth pieces and other sediments, and pool with volume 500 cubic meters to collect clean water and water supply channel more than 1 km in length, the other 4 km of water pipeline are on reserve lands of the community. At the example of this demonstration watershed participants got acquainted with the watershed principle of integrated planning and use of natural resources by foresters and local community, discussed the impact on the hydrological function of forest management systems in old-aged beech, oak-hornbeam and beech-oak-hornbeam forests and ways of wood skidding, transportation, as well as usage of forest roads and simple hydrological structures. The next day, participants visited forests in Vopvchyi district watershed of Svalyava forestry in SE"Svalyava forest management unit" and got acquainted with the practice of forest management and forest impact over the hydrological regime of local water bodies, located in this district - streams, artificial ponds, hydrological facilities, two intakes that provide qualitative water to local trout farms, numerous hotels and recreation areas, as well as residents of Polyana. Forest performs mainly water-regulating, flow-regulating, water conservation and other hydrological functions here that are important for communities of surrounding villages and cities, as well as various business entities that use local water resources, and wood is harvested at this district in very limited quantities. Participants of the field workshop, including leaders of Ukrderzhlisproekt, representatives of forest management, environmental agencies, water management, public utilities of villages and cities and others were able to assess some proposals on the need to use new modern approaches in forest management planning, practical forest management to preserve and enhance the potential of forest areas, effective multifunctional management of forest resources and other useful forest functions. Given the vulnerability of mountain forest systems and the need for their conservation and efficient use , there were discussed also the need to introduce a reasonable payment for ecosystem services, and primarily those related to drinking water, control of the flood flow. This fee could be a compensation of cost of forest management units and incentives for forester to maintain forests n a state where they are as good as possible perform its functions and provide important social services. The hot summer months without rain in the past and this year, a sharp decrease of the water level in the Carpathian rivers, streams and wells of local residents, and even drying of them - this all require revision of the attitude of society and relevant state central and local authorities towards forests and forest management. Project HYDROFOR: Systems of optimal forest management for enhancing the hydrological role of forests in preventing the floods in Bodrog river catchment is implemented in the framework of Hungary-Slovakia-Romania-Ukraine ENPI CBC Programme 2007-2013, Priority 2: Enhance environmental quality, Measure 2.2. Emergency preparedness. PHOTO REPORT please see at: https://picasaweb.google.com/113805013373103711164/VOVCHYI?authuser=0&au... - Vovchyi https://picasaweb.google.com/113805013373103711164/BUNKER?authuser=0&aut... - Bunker https://picasaweb.google.com/113805013373103711164/SOLVA?authuser=0&auth... - Solva https://picasaweb.google.com/113805013373103711164/DILIANKA?authuser=0&a... – HYDROFOR demonstration plot