First stakeholder event took place in Moravske Toplice in Slovenia on 19 September 2018. The goal of the event was collaborative identification of issues and needs related to riparian forests in Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve. Professionals dealing with and those interested in forest management and conservation from the project’s target area gathered for an extensive but informative and fun exercise. The event was divided into three parts:
- introduction to the project by Dr. Marjana Westergren (Slovenian Forestry Institute, SFI), the project's coordinator,
- group work on issues and needs moderated by Marcus Sallmannshofer (BFW), and
- field trip to Murska šuma, a riparian forest along Mura river.
Photos: Group work exercise on issues and need of riparian forests in Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve (T. Baloh & S. Krajter Ostoić)
Photo: Oak reforestation site in Murska šuma (A. Kiš)
Photo: Group photo (T. Baloh)
The event gathered to about 40 participants from various sectors (science, forestry, nature conservation, tourism) and included both researchers' and practitioners' perspectives. Firstly, participants addressed issues and needs as per sector (each group representing one sector – forestry, forestry science, nature conservation, hunting and tourism), and secondly, contributed to completing the picture in other sectors (making additions and comments to lists of other sectors). After the lunch, participants visited Murska šuma, one of the largest riparian forest complexes in Prekmurje region of Slovenia which is also a Natura 2000 site. They learnt about Natura 2000 species and issues these forests are facing.. Participants also discussed monitoring, forest seed stands and artificial restoration sties. In that regard, artificial restoration of pine plantation with oak, seen during the field trip, was of particular interest and suggested as a potential REFOCuS demonstration site for stakeholder education.