Owners’ forests (private forests) in the Republic of Serbia, in the part of the territory under the jurisdiction of the SE “Srbijašume”, cover 1,223,875 ha. The volume of these forests is about 139 million m3, and the annual volume increase is about 3.6 million m3.
According to the Law on Forests, owners’ forests, which are owned by natural persons, are managed on the basis of a forest area development plan and a forest management program.
State Enterprise for Forest Management “Srbijašume”, in accordance with the Law on Forests, and according to the Agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, provides the owners of forests (private forests owned by individuals), for which the program is adopted, with professional and advisory support and performs the following tasks:
- Development of an annual forest management plan;
- Development of a program for raising new forests and improving the condition of existing forests;
- Development of a forest fire protection plan;
- Marking of trees for felling;
- Monitoring the impact of biotic and abiotic factors on forest health;
- Stamping of felled wood and issuing of accompanying documents;
- Surveying, calculation and recording of illegally felled wood;
- Recording of performed works on protection, cultivation and utilization of forests in the forest management program;
- Informing the competent authorities about illegal actions;
- Performs other professional and advisory work as well.
According to the Law on Forests, the owner of the forest is a natural or legal person (company, cooperative, church/religious community, association) under whose ownership the forest stands registered.
The forest owner is obliged to protect his/her forest from illegal appropriation, utilization, destruction and other illegal actions.
The forest owner is obliged to apply forest management measures determined by law, perform appropriate and planned forestry-silvicultural works which will improve forest condition, ensure increment and increase yield, protect the land against erosion and increase beneficial forest functions.
The obligation of the forest owner is to take measures for the protection of forests against fires, plant diseases and pests, as well as measures for the care of forest plantations.
The forest owner is obligated to carry out remediation, as follows: non-overgrown areas caused by natural disasters (fire, wind, snow, etc.); areas where rejuvenation and afforestation have failed; areas where devastation has taken place – illegal clear-cutting or deforestation or illegal felling of rare tree species.
The forest owner is obligated to organize and carry out the works in forest management on time and in a way that ensures the protection and improvement of forests.
The forest owner is obligated to establish and maintain forest order.
Every owner of uncultivated forest land, etc. may submit an application for afforestation of non-wooded areas to the competent forest administration of the Enterprise branch, which is the basis for the possibility of obtaining free-of-charge planting material of forest tree species for spring and autumn afforestation.
The application for afforestation of privately owned land is submitted on the Form ŠS-1, with the written consent of all landowners, in case the plot has more owners (co-owners). The mentioned form can be obtained from the expert of the Enterprise branch.
After the development of the Program for Raising New Forests and Improving the Condition of Existing Forests, the Enterprise and the landowner shall conclude a contract (Form ŠS-2), which will regulate mutual rights and obligations in the performance of these works.
When the conditions for performing afforestation works are met, the employee on professional-advisory work informs the landowner about the time and place of taking over the planting material. When taking over the planting material, the landowner confirms by signing an appropriate act (statement) that he/she has taken over the planting material (Form ŠS-12).
Afforestation can be done on forest land, as well as on agricultural land, with the prior fulfillment of the conditions prescribed by the Law on Agricultural Land and the Law on Fees for Use of Public Goods. Afforestation can also be done on land that is registered in the Real Estate Cadastre as ’other land’ by type of land and as ’other natural infertile land’ by culture, with a document confirming that it is suitable for afforestation and forest management.
Tree felling in forests can be done only after selecting, designating and recording of trees for felling (hereinafter: marking). The planned extent of deforestation is determined on the basis of the condition of the owners’ forests, ie in accordance with the silvicultural needs of the forests.
Marking in the owners’ forests is performed by an expert of the Enterprise branch, within whose competence the professional-advisory work in the above forests is performed. The district (“revir“) engineer or district (“revir“) technician for the owners’ forests (hereinafter: expert) in the regional forest administration of the Enterprise branch carries out the marking according to the order of submitted requests grouped by schedule and cadastral municipalities. Applicants for tree marking shall be notified of the date of marking in advance, orally, by written notice displayed on the notice board of the Enterprise branch or in any other appropriate manner.
Applying for Tree Marking
The forest owner or the person authorized by the forest owner submits a request for tree marking to the district engineer or district technician for privately owned forests in the given forest estate, ie forest administration of the Enterprise branch, using Form ŠS-4, which can be obtained from an expert of the Enterprise branch. The applicant for tree marking is obliged to present a document identifying himself/herself as the applicant to the expert when submitting the request.
If the cadastral parcel is not registered to the applicant, a document certified by a notary public (a copy of the final decision on registration, a copy of the final decision on inheritance or a copy of the relevant contract) shall be attached, in order to determine ownership of the forest to which the above request relates.
In order to carry out the marking of trees for felling, if the real estate, ie forest and forest land, has multiple owners, a written consent (statement) of other co-owners is required so that the marking of trees for felling can be realized. The statement of the co-owners agreeing with the above tree marking must contain the place where the operation is to be carried out, the amount of wood volume that is the subject of felling and the time period in which the marking of trees for felling is to be performed.
If the tree marking is done for the purpose of regular tending and improvement of forest condition, and the felling is to have the character of the previous yield (thinning), the consent of the co-owners whose parts together make 2/3 or more of the property area is required. If the tree felling is made for the purpose of reforestation, and the felling is to have the character of the main yield (felling for the purpose of reforestation), the consent of all co-owners is required.
The consent must be explicit that the tree marking is done on the real estate in question, provided that it can be given in one of the following ways, as follows:
- By signing the request for tree marking by the owner, ie co-owners of the real estate in question, in the presence of an authorized person of the Enterprise branch in whose competence the professional activities in the owners’ forests are performed;
- By giving a written consent of the owner, ie co-owners of the real estate in question, that the marking can be performed, certified by the competent state body, which the applicant for tree marking is obliged to attach to their request.
The authorized person of the Enterprise branch, in whose competence the professional- advisory work is performed in the owners’ forests, is obliged to determine the identity of the applicant by inspecting his/her personal documents, and the ownership by inspecting the documentation determining ownership of real estate, a copy of which is archived with the request.
Deadline for Submission of Requests
The request for tree marking is submitted by May 1st of the current business year for marking in the current year and is valid only for marking to be carried out by the end of the current business year. Upon the request for tree marking in the owner’s forest, submitted after May 1st of the current business year, the marking shall be made in accordance with the Annual Management Plan for Forest Owners, ie the Provisional Forest Management Program, after the applicant pays the costs of extraordinary on-site inspection. The applicant for tree marking is obligated to pay the costs of the extraordinary on-site inspection for the purpose of tree marking to the account of the branch of the Enterprise.
Tree Marking Procedure
During the tree marking, the presence of the forest owner or a person authorized by him/her is obligatory, who is to show the external boundaries of the real estate, ie forest and forest land on which the marking shall be performed, as well as to get the expert acquainted, in a clear and unambiguous way, with the external boundaries of the real estate in question. The forest owner is responsible for the accuracy and precision of the shown external boundaries of the real estate, ie the forest and forest land in which the tree marking is performed, and the State Enterprise “Srbijašume” is not responsible for any damage caused to third parties due to tree marking in the forest not owned by the person on whose request the marking is performed. If the tree marking expert suspects (for any reason) that the forest owner, during the identification of the real estate, ie forest and forest land and external borders, has not identified the forest in his/her possession, the above expert is obligated not to initiate the marking.
After the marking is carried out, the forest owner is given a copy of the completed payment slip to pay the wood utilization fee. After submitting the proof of payment of the above fee, the forest owner is issued the first copy of the tree marking sheet in which the trees marked for felling are recorded.
The tree marking is valid for the current business year in which it was perftormed and for the following calendar year. In exceptional cases, the marking may be extended for another calendar year from the expiration of the previously mentioned deadline, at the written request and with the appropriate explanation of the forest owner, or a person authorized by the forest owner.
After the felling, the owner of the forest is obligated to introduce forest order at the place of felling.
The amount of the fee for the use of wood is determined during the marking. The basis for calculating the fee paid by the forest owner is the value of wood assortments according to the price list of the forest user on the forest truck road. The value of wood assortments for forest owners is calculated on the basis of the amount of marked wood volume by assortments. The wood utilization fee is determined by applying a rate of 3% to the base.
Prior to the felling, the forest owner is obligated to pay the fee calculated in the previously described manner, in favor of the Budget of the Republic of Serbia.
The wood utilization fee is not paid for wood assortments from the areas where the damage is repaired in accordance with the rehabilitation plan.
For the purpose of protection against illegal use, felled wood from the owners’ forests must not be placed on the market (bought, sold, donated, stored and transported by means intended for transportation) until it is stamped with a forest stamp and issued a shipping document. Skidding, removing or extracting of wood from the place of felling to the truck road are not considered to be placing on the market.
The expert person is obligated to stamp the felled wood, which was previously marked, immediately after the felling, and no later than within 15 days from the day of submitting the request for stamping.
In order to stamp wood originating from the forest, it is necessary to submit a request for stamping, either in writing using the form ŠS-6 or orally. The forest is considered to be an area overgrown with forest trees, with a minimum size of 5 ares (500 m2), with a land cover of min. 30% of tree crowns; young natural and artificial stands; temporarily unforested areas, due to human activity or for natural reasons, on which forests will be re-established, either naturally or artificially; forest nurseries in a complex of forests and seed plantations; protective tree belts with an area of more than 5 ares; a plot overgrown with forest trees in an area of less than 5 ares, which together with other plots builds a unique forest complex, and all other areas overgrown with forest trees, which are not forests in terms of the Ordinance on Work and Conduct in Performing Professional-Advisory Work in Owners’ Forests.
For the wood that does not originate from the forest (alleys; parks in populated areas; trees under the long-distance power line and in the corridor of the built long-distance power line; groups of forest trees that form a whole up to 5 ares, which are not considered forests; wood from meadows, pastures, on the borders and other land that is not considered forest in terms of law), it is also necessary to submit a request for stamping in writing, on the previously mentioned form (ŠS-6) which can be obtained from an expert of the Enterprise branch.
Stamping of felled wood and issuance of shipping documents for forest trees originating from an area that is not considered forest in terms of the law and regulations, is performed by the Enterprise with reimbursement of costs borne by the applicant. No fee for the use of wood is charged for stamping felled wood outside the forest.
Stamping of felled wood is done by stamping a forest stamp, as follows:
- For round and hewn wood above 25 cm in medium diameter, on both cross-sections of each piece;
- For round and hewn wood below 25 cm in medium diameter, on one cross-section of each piece;
- In the case of spatial wood, on one cross-section of at least 75% of the pieces in one stack.
Branches and parts of branches, as well as other wood products that due to their dimensions cannot be stamped with a forest stamp (wood chips, splinters, etc.), if placed on the market, they do not have to be stamped. Stamping with a forest stamp is done at the place of felling or making wood assortments. At the request of a natural person, stamping fruit tree logs can also be performed, if stamping is necessary in order to place these assortments on the market.
Stamping of felled wood in the forest of the owner – natural person and issuance of a shipping document is done at the request of the owner – natural person within 15 days from the date of the request submission if the conditions prescribed by the law governing forests and payment of wood utilization fee are met.
For a tree felled in the forest or a tree felled outside the forest, which is stamped with a forest stamp, a shipping document is issued to the forest owner, ie. to the land owner (in case of a tree outside the forest). The form of the shipping document is prescribed by bylaw. The spatial tree shipping document is marked with the letter A and a serial number, while the roundtree shipping document is marked with the letter B and a serial number.
In the event that the forest owner cuts down unmarked trees, in the forest where the marking has already taken place, the forest owner will not have the illegally felled trees stamped or the shipping documents issued.
Clear-cutting is allowed only in the case when it is a regular way of reforestation (acacia or softwoods). Clear-cutting is allowed in order to change the type of trees or cultivation forms of the forest and in other cases prescribed by the Law on Forests. Clear-cutting may be carried out in other cases if required by the general interest established by law.
Obtaining approval for clear-cutting is initiated by the forest owner, by submitting a request to the competent branch of the Enterprise, provided that the clear-cutting is envisaged by the Annual Forest Management Plan for Forest Owners, ie the Provisional Forest Management Program.
Monitoring of the execution of works in the management of the owners’ forests is performed by an expert of the Enterprise branch, ie. expert of the competent forest estate ie forest administration.
If the above expert determines that a criminal offense (forest theft or forest degradation) or a misdemeanor (illegal logging) has been committed in an owner’s forest, the obligation of the expert is to make a record of the illegal action.
If it is a criminal offense or misdemeanor where the perpetrator is not known, the expert of the Enterprise branch submits a report to the competent body of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
If it is a criminal offense or misdemeanor where the perpetrator is known, the expert of the Enterprise branch submits a report to the competent forestry inspector for further action.
The expert marks the stumps of illegally felled trees with a illegal logging stamp and performs survey, calculation and recording of illegally felled trees.