Photo via Lesy České republiky Facebook page

Czech forestry agency launches app so people can help plant trees

State forestry firm Lesy České republiky plans hundreds of events that the public can participate in

People in the Czech Republic can help fight bark beetle and drought with a mobile app. But you need to do more than just download the app. You also have to sign up to help plant trees.

State-run forestry firm Lesy České republiky (LČR) wants to plant a record number of trees, and needs assistance from the general public.

LČR organizes hundreds tree planing events from the spring to the fall, and finding out about them in time has been difficult. Often people see photos after the events, and then it is too late.

Using the app called Klub nového lesa people can register to help starting at the end of February. Planting itself will begin in the regions in mid-March and will culminate on the second Saturday in October, which is in the national Day for Forest Restoration (Den za obnovu lesa).

There will be close to 400 events, with each of the 64 forestry administrations is planning about six filed days for the public. “It is the biggest such series of events in our history,” LČR’s public relations head Martin Zajíček told Czech Television.

Peat bog in Šumava national park, Bohemian forest in the Czech Republic

“We were very pleased with the public interest in planting and maintaining forests last year, so we decided to organize other events this year where people will help us planting trees in particular, but also building fences against animals and educating ourselves in the field,” he added.

The app will help the foresters prepare for the events with the right number of saplings and shovels, as they will have a better idea of how many people to expect due to the advance registrations. It is already available for Android and soon will launch for iOS. Information on the app is in Czech, but it is clearly organized and pretty basic. Users of the app also qualify to get some discounts from sponsors.

Currently the app has recent news, such as an account of storm damage and a summary of completed projects. People in the future will be able to report illegal dumps and other forest-related problems.

“We were inspired by loyalty clubs used in the commercial sphere. We also want to communicate effectively with people who are interested in the restoration of their landscape,” Lesy ČR General Manager Josef Vojáček said when the app was released.

czech forests
Saplings ready to be transplanted. via Lesy České republiky

More than 100 cultural and sporting events are also planned by LČR, and information in these will also be on the app. LČR will have a tent at a number of events and will team up with experts to answer public questions and explain the need for planting new forests. Zajíček said it is a response to climate change.

They will also use virtual reality at the booths so people wearing goggles can see what the forest they plan to look like in 20 years.

Last year’s Day for Forest Restoration had close to 31,000 participants planting 162,000 diverse seedlings in a single day. These trees will provide shelter and food for small animals and help retain rainwater in the vegetation.

Lesy České republiky was established by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1992 with a main goal of managing over 1.2 million hectares of state-owned forest estates and almost 38,000 km of waterways. In normal years the annual harvest of wood amounts approx. to 8.5 million cubic meters. It has its headquarters in Hradec Králové. Its forestry strategy is based on sustainable management, and it aims to create stable, high-quality forest with mixed tree species and with various spatial and age groups.

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