Hungarian Forest Management
Specialities > Hungarian Forest Management
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Dear Visitor!

Let us introduce the system of the Hungarien Forest Management, and the structure and activities of the National Food Chain Safety Office:

Forestry administration

The structure of forestry administration

About 25% of Hungary’s land area is utilized for forestry purposes. The importance of the sector in the society is indisputable, as forests are there in both, the natural and artificial environment, although the sector receives a relatively low share of GDP. Due to the large area concerned, the great number of owners, farmers and employees, the diversity of natural conditions, and the diversified and redefined expectations of the society regarding the forests, there is a need in Hungary for an efficient regulation system of forest management and a professional forestry administration.

The current structure of forest management has evolved due to social and economic changes deriving from the political system change in 1989. The legal bases also changed accordingly, creating new challenges for the administration and the forest managers too.

Forest administration belongs to the authority and responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture. Within the organization of the Ministry, the Department of Forestry and Hunting is in charge of carrying out the forestry sector’s regulatory and legal management tasks.

It is the Directorate of Forestry of the National Food Chain Safety Office (NFCSO FD), which carries out tasks in general of forestry administration. The control of the production and trade of propagating material is, however, carried out by the Directorate of Plant Production and Horticulture of the same National Office (NFCSO).

The forestry authority functions at first instance are provided by the Departments of Agriculture and Forestry with regional competences belonging to the joined County Government Offices (CGO). There are 10 such CGO departments in Hungary. The NFCSO FD is in charge of exercising the supervision and control in forestry matters on the CGO Departments of Agriculture and Forestry.

Forestry administration - forest management planning and forestry inspection

NFCSO was established in 2012 with national-level jurisdiction. It is a central government agency operating under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture. The Directorate of Forestry of NFCSO supervises at national level the CGO Agriculture and Forestry Departments’ authority activities at first instance. The NFCSO FD’s main activity is to ensure, through its administrative functions, the sustainable forest management in the country. During course of this it:

  • creates a complete forest inventory on all forests in Hungary via scanning the total forest area during course of the process of regional forest management planning with 10-years return;

  • maintains the national register of forest managers;

  • carries out basic and thematic mapping works;

  • manages and maintains the National Forest Inventory and Data Base;

  • collects and processes statistical data on forests and forest management;

  • coordinates the national assessment on forest health conditions;

  • carries out the forestry authority tasks;

  • runs the financial (caution) system of forest regenerations;

  • co-operates with other authorities and state agencies in the execution of the forestry  incentive system.

The above mentioned tasks are executed by NFCSO FD for all forests and all forest management units, within the respective legislative framework, independently of their ownership type. It must be stressed again that forestry authority organizations do not carry out any forest management activities in Hungary.

Ownership structure on forests

Forests in Hungary are owned to 56% by the state, to 1% by local communities and to 43% by privates. The longer-term perspective of the ownership structure – based on afforestations done mostly on private and community land property – is the increasing share of private and community-owned forests.

It is also special goal of the forest policy to improve the fragmented land structure, which yet affects private forest management in some areas, and to support the establishment of private forest management organizations.

Forest management

In Hungary in terms of forest management, it can be distinguished between state-owned and non-state-owned forests, mostly private ones. The non-state-owned areas are managed mostly by private management companies. These must be recorded by the forestry authorities. The management of the state forests is mainly carried out by 22 state forest management companies. However, there are also other state organizations – e.g. Water Management Authority, National Parks – managing state forest areas.

The share of community ownership on forests is low, usually municipal, town and city councils are the forest managers.

The majority of private forests are in undivided joint ownership. In terms of management privates often contract the management of their forests by lease contracts to private forest management companies but also joint management organizations, such as forest cooperatives or local forest owner and management associations are significant.

Not managed forests also exist in Hungary most of them being in private property. At these areas there is no forest manager recorded in the register of the forestry authority. It is a key objective of forest policy in Hungary to further reduce the size of unmanaged forests.

Legal background

The legal background of forest management in Hungary is based on the Act No. XXXVII of 2009 on forests, on the protection and management of forests, which was passed in 2009, together with their implementation orders of No. 153/2009 (13 November) and 63/2012 (2 July, Ministry of Rural Development).

In addition, there is the Act No. CXL of 2004 on General Rules of Administrative Proceedings and Services, constituting another important legal base for the authority. Further legislative pieces to be considered are the Act No. LIII of 1996 on Nature Conservation and the Act No. LV of 1996 on the protection of game, game management and hunting.