The past year has been an exciting period of growth for the IMFN’s newest member, the Czech Republic Model Forest, culminating in a new video and brochure showcasing their unique additions to the IMFN family.
In January 2017, the Czech Republic Model Forest Association was officially established by five founding members, all active players in sustainable development in their respective regions: Krivoklatsko Forest Park, P.B.C.; Forests of the Czech Republic, State Enterprise; Mendel University in Brno; Military Forests and Farms, State Enterprise; and Lower Morava Biosphere Reserve, P.B.C.
The group’s first priority was to develop a Strategic Plan for 2017-2020. It was produced over several months through a participatory approach involving founding members and representatives from the ministries of agriculture, environment, education, youth and sports, as well as municipal and private forest owners. Out of this process, the Association identified the most important goals for the new Model Forest, which focused on education, training, and cooperation in sustainable landscape management.
The Association also completed an application for membership in the IMFN. As part of this application, the Czech Republic Model Forest was reviewed by IMFN Secretariat evaluators to ensure it would follow Model Forest principles. The evaluators visited the Czech Republic in May, and had an opportunity to see and assess all four sites included in the cluster of the Czech Republic Model Forest: Bezdez Forestry Park, Krivoklatsko Forestry Park, Masaryk Forest Krtiny Forestry Park and Lower Morava Biosphere Reserve.
During this trip, Model Forest stakeholders presented their time-honoured methods of sustainable forestry and landscape management, which have a long tradition and history in Central Europe. Positive evaluations from the IMFN representatives led to the full membership of the Czech Republic Model Forest in the IMFN as of July 2017.
The Czech Republic Model Forest dedicated the past year to educational and promotional activities. The team arranged an international conference on Model Forests, published a series of Model Forest articles, and created an educational brochure with information about the IMFN, the Czech Republic Model Forest and its individual sites.
These activities culminated in a new video emphasizing the main features of the Model Forest and showing the beauty and diversity of all the sites in the Czech Republic.
The efforts of the past year are already bearing fruit, as new areas in the Czech Republic are considering to join the Model Forest network as well. We are looking forward to the next year being an even greater success.