During 14.-19.01.2024 the Forest Expert Program of German Forest Society organised a Specialised Study Tour for Ukrainian forestry specialists to Germany. Sabine Kühling, welcomed participants from various Ukrainian forestry institutions, among them representatives of Ministry of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, State Forest Resources Agency (SFRA) of Ukraine and its regional authorities, Ukrainian State Forest Management Planning Association, Centre of National Forest Inventory as well as business and scientific institutions. The main objective of the Study Tour was to provide comprehensive information about state administration and practical forestry in Germany, particularly experiences in the organisation and implementation of the Federal Forest Inventory (Bundeswaldinventur – BWI) and build capacities in this area in order to derive conclusions for further development of the National Forest Inventory (NFI) in Ukraine.

Dr. Katalin Solymosi welcomed participants on behalf of BMEL. She thanked the Ukrainian partners for the intensive cooperation, mentioned the German support and appreciated achievements in Ukraine, despite the ongoing aggression by Russia. She emphasized the Federal Government’s ongoing interest in continuing to support Ukraine’s forestry sector.

Viktor Smal, Head of SFRA, informed about significant challenges in the Ukrainian forestry sector caused by the Russian war. He stated that based on support by BMEL, the SFI-Project made important donations to the procurement of damaged and lost inventory equipment as well as NFI field data gathering and contributed with advisory capacities to the elaboration of a remote sensing-based inventory for the entire Ukraine.

During an expert discussion on the funding by BMEL via the Project “Sustainable Forest Implementation” (SFI) representatives of the Ukrainian partner institutions as well as Food and Agriculture Organization emphasized the importance of support from the SFI-Project. “Future project work should focus on a comprehensive review of the NFI methodology and the use of the RS-Inventory results for modelling the potential supply of raw wood.”, said Victor Melnichenko, General Director of SFMPA.

Particular attention was paid to German experiences in carrying out the BWI. Specialists from the BMEL, Federal Thünen-Institute and Centre of Forest Competency of Brandenburg State (LFE) provided information about long-term experiences in data gathering, data processing and publication of BWI results. A comprehensive, officially approved methodology aligned with key stakeholders, a well elaborated and proven software as well as sufficient training of inventory staff were presented as crucial prerequisites for successful implementation of any NFI.

Ukrainian participants had the opportunity to join several specialised events, namely “Germany stands by Ukrainian Forestry – Potentials, Challenges and Options for Ukraine Forestry and Wood industry”, organised by the German Forestry Council on behalf of Federal State North Rhine-Westphalia.

In order to deepen the understanding of Forest management in Germany with a special focus on the changing climate the group visited also the Forestry Department Chorin, belonging to the Forest of Brandenburg State and the Federal State Forest Office of West Brandenburg.

In the end participants appreciated the organisation of the Study Tour and recognised their gain of knowledge in forestry in Germany, particularly on NFI approaches and methodology. They proposed a follow up Study Tour on other challenging forest policy issues, such as e.g. environmental impact assessment and implementation of close-to-nature principles in forestry.