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Review article

Forestry in the Area of the Bjelovar-Bilogora County from its Beginnings until Today

Marinko Prka orcid id ; Hrvatske šume d.o.o., Zagreb, Hrvatska

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page 143-166

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As early as at the beginning of the 18th century, the forestry service had – in various manners – been organised in the territory of the Croatian state; around the half of the same century, first forestry offices were formed as territorial organisations for forest management. After the abolition of the Varaždin Generalate in 1871, the Bjelovar County was formed; its existence – though having suffered several interruptions and changes – may be followed until the present day. The paper deals with the existence and development of organised forestry in that area in that period. In 1874, in the region encompassing Bilogora and Podravina, Đurđevac and Križevci property communes were formed, both seated in Bjelovar and carrying out forestry-related activities in an organised manner. From the angle of property relations and management-related obligations, during a century and a half almost, we may distinguish several organisational forms of competence over forests and forestland, i.e. organisational units of the forestry service, such as property communes, state-owned forests, private forests, private landed properties and land communities. During the said period, in the area of the Bjelovar-Bilogora County, there had been six various constitutional systems that introduced a great number of amendments to legal acts and changes regarding property relations. A further difficulty was the fact that during almost that entire period, the county borders (which had changed considerably throughout history) did not match the territorial organisation of the forest service. We may therefore speak of organised forestry in this region in the last 135 years, i.e. of the forestry of the Bjelovar-Bilogora County in its historical context. The operational forestry service developed in this area during a long period of time within and according to the boundaries of particular constitutional systems and the changes thereof. At the very beginning of organised forestry in the said region, the operational forestry service was organised depending upon the existence of Vojna krajina (the Croatian Military Border) in the area of that County. Thanks to the Croatian Forestry Society, formed more than 160 years ago, its journals (Trudovi, Šumarski list) and the College of Forestry in Križevci (founded in 1860), forestry in that County had managed to develop and preserve continuous scientific approach to forest management and the education and training of domestic foresters. The share of the forestry in the overall potentials of the Bjelovar-Bilogora County today is significant but still insufficiently exploited.
The elements of continuity in the organisation of the forestry service in the said period are as follows: care for professional and permanent forest management, environmental consciousness and general usefulness, and involvement in the local social and economic development. Thanks to all the efforts made and field work done by generations of foresters from the whole of Croatia, i.e. from the said region as well, the forests have been preserved to a great extent, and are today considered being among the most natural and stable as well as best preserved ones in Europe.


Bjelovar-Bilogora County; historical development; forestry

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