Matecna: Bark Beetles Decimating High Tatra Forests

Bark Beetle (Photo by TASR)

High Tatras, August 30 (TASR) – Precious forests are dying out in the High Tatra Mountains due to an extreme outbreak of bark beetle related back to the November 2004 windstorm, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna stated on Tuesday.

Matecna warned that the decline of forests – not only those hit by the windstorm – also results into soil erosion and desiccation of water resources. Moreover, if action isn’t taken, forests from the affected areas will disappear for several decades.

“We’ve been sitting back and looking how our Tatra forests are literally dying before our eyes. As a result of the invasion by the bark beetle, soil erosion also appears in the dry dead forest, apart from the drying out of forest wells and mountain streams. It’s about time to act,” said Matecna.

“We must outmatch the bark beetle and find it active in trees. This is the key for helping the nature,” said Jan Slivinsky from the Tatra National Park (TANAP) State Forests.

Meanwhile, Matecna announced that she wants to initiate a roundtable debate involving forestry experts and environmentalists. She noted that the decline of forests in High Tatras also significantly affects the environment for the existing sanatoria for treatment of respiratory diseases. One spruce annually produces oxygen for 50 people.

“The Tatra mountain forests are among Slovakia’s symbols,” added the minister.