PRAGUE - When the state-owned company Czech Forests, the largest owner of forestlands in the Czech Republic, began to experiment with a new commercial policy back in 2010, it was met with a significant public outcry.
Representatives of environmental NGOs and small business owners warned that the proposed new system for subcontracting forestry work would lead to a significant deterioration of the quality of the care for the forests, which would debilitate its basic functions: oxygen creation, water retention, etc. Similarly, many experts cautioned against a system designed for only a handful of large companies that would end up dominating the forestry market.
A mere eight years later, the single largest subcontractor of work in state-owned forests is a daughter company of the Agrofert holding, linked to the current Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babis. The second prophecy has also been fulfilled. Today, the forests in the Czech Republic are facing the worst bark beetle infestation in 200 years.
This article is an attempt to explain the genesis of the environmental catastrophe the Czech Republic faces today.
This project was made possible by Journalismfund.eu's Elvis Grants.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis is the king of the woods - Intellinews, 3 December 2018