Last year, the Czech state-owned company Lesy České republiky (LČR) ended up with a profit of 44 million crowns (EUR 1.73 million) after a loss of 790 million crowns (EUR 31 million) the year before. Money from the state to compensate for the reduction in wood prices due to the bark beetle calamity in the amount of 2.3 billion crowns (EUR 90 million) helped the state company to end last year in plus. Eva Jouklová, a company spokeswoman, told the Czech media on Friday.
Originally, the company anticipated that it would suffer a loss of up to 1.9 billion (EUR 74.7 million) due to the bark beetle calamity last year. Compensation for lower wood prices was also received from the state by other forest owners. The forests of the Czech Republic own almost half of the forests in the country and its priority is to manage the bark beetle calamity.
“The result was very positively affected by state funds compensating for the reduction in timber prices. But we immediately return the money to the forests during the restoration. Last year, our costs of growing activities reached almost 3.5 billion crowns (EUR 137.5 million) and increased by 21 percent compared to 2019, “said Josef Vojáček, CEO of the company. According to him, the company also started to create a corporate reserve fund again in accordance with the company’s development strategy from December 2020. “This is a crucial source in sudden events and calamities,” said Vojáček.
Last year, the company planted 74 million seedlings and afforested 16,000 hectares, of which 3,790 hectares naturally. This year, it plans to afforest 21,000 hectares of clearings and plant a record 85 million seedlings. Due to the massive logging of beetle wood, the area of clearings in state forests increased by six percent to 32,544 hectares at the end of last year.
The company increased its timber production by 2.9 percent last year to a record 14.3 million cubic meters. Thus, the sharp increase in 2019 did not continue, when logging increased by 30 percent year-on-year to 13.9 million cubic meters due to the massive spread of bark beetles.
This year, LČR plans to slightly reduce logging to 14.07 million cubic meters. Logging in state forests began to grow significantly with the rise of the bark beetle calamity in 2018. In the years without the bark beetle calamity, logging at Lesy ČR was around eight million cubic meters.