Forests in ruinous state

ALMOST a million hectares of forest in Slovakia suffered damage from air pollution in 2001, more than double the total in 1996, according to a cabinet study.

The study predicted that merely repairing the damage would cost over Sk2.5 billion ($56 million) through 2010. The Agriculture Ministry now contributes Sk25 million to the purpose annually, while foresters can receive up to another Sk22 million directly from the state budget.

The existing funds are being put towards forest renewal in the Low Tatras and Spiš regions, but cannot cover repair needs in the Kysuce, Orava and Spišská Magura areas, where the study says that renewal must begin by 2005 at the latest if the forests are not to be irreparably damaged.

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