New Virgin Forest Project

Czech Republic

With around 200 volunteers and managing over 50 hectares of ‘ecologically worthless’ land, Cmelák works to prove that no land is irredeemable through practical conservation work and environmental education.

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The Project

The first area of land bought by Cmelák in 2004, was an ecologically unstable 40 year old pine monoculture with very little in the way of wildlife. Through clearing and replanting the first 10 hectares with over 15,000 native tree species, the aim is to demonstrate that such areas can be transformed into highly diverse mixed forests capable of supporting a wide range of wildlife, similar to the original virgin forests, within 300-400 years.

The aim is to buy a minimum of 100 hectares of land to develop as virgin forest whilst involving the public and local companies in practical field work. For 2009, the objectives are:
  • To buy a further 10 hectares of land to connect currently owned and managed areas
  • 5 Guided visits to the current new virgin forests for experts, specialists, the general public and the media
  • 10 Volunteer events involving over 200 volunteers to continue the preservation, restoration and replanting work
  • Increase in fundraising work in order to acquire more land

The Update

Three areas of land for purchase have been identified and Cmelak are in negotiations with their owners. Fundraising is ongoing for the purchase and management of further new and existing land.

11 volunteer fieldwork programmes have been run, using 294 volunteers and 4 field trips, with more planned for 2010. Local companies including Vodaphone, IKEA, KPMG and Microsoft have all been involved in volunteering in fieldwork. So far 3 hectares of spruce monoculture have been cut out and replaces with 8,500 beech, sycamore and Norwegian maple saplings.

During 2010, land purchase contracts were finalised, as well as further fundraising, fieldwork and involving additional local companies.
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We are hugely grateful for the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, without whose support we could never have realised such an ambitious project.
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage