Science should be a tool of knowledge, not of power

When I see press releases related to forests, I feel that forests are now a game that must be reduced and their numbers replaced by environmentalists and scientists. When simplistic opinions emerge from the general public, this is understandable given the limited amount of information they receive in this regard. Regarding the perspectives, admittedly qualitative but one-sided, the result should be a modular and interdisciplinary approach to the solution. However, if power solutions emerge, actors should be warned that in democratic countries these solutions only belong to the state, and only because its representatives are elected by all citizens. It is one of the basic principles of democracy. However, it seems that these principles no longer apply in the forestry sector.

When I come back to the forestry press releases, I am not surprised. In the second half of last year, a group of scientists demanded in an open letter the dismissal of Deputy Agriculture Minister Patrick Miliana. The reason for this was his opinion on the management of the floodplain forests of South Moravia, in particular the Sotok Game Reserve.

I read recently that almost the same group of scientists are taking legal action against Lesy ČR for the management of the Bulhary Game Reserve, which is managed by the Židlochovice Forest Factory. If these efforts are successful, we will be in the 1970s, a period of so-called normalization.

Many of us vividly remember a time when one opinion was correct. It does not matter whether it is the opinion of “the party and the government” or the opinion of another group. There was also a job loss for a different and free opinion at the time, and sometimes a false accusation was used, and I think, apparently naively, that this time around was over 50 years. However, let’s take a look at both cases.

The common denominator for both cases is a group of researchers. Their number (alleged 6,500) tries to give the impression that a large part of the professional scientific community supports their opinion.

this is not true. Professional scientific societies, which support their needs by signing off on their presidents, constitute a small group of scientists concerned with protecting one or more species. It is certainly a commendable activity, and I myself enjoy these scientific activities, as long as they are in the service of knowledge. However, the form of force used does not serve knowledge, but rather the elimination of different opinions, and in this case even leads to the condition of job loss. There are many definitions of science in the literature, and in the vast majority of them we find the term “systematic perception”. However, the methods used here do not bear signs of perception, but signs of framing.

Another question is the relationship between the disciplines. Here too, the principle of synthesis must be applied, and not the supremacy of certain disciplines over others. The interdisciplinary approach is a key feature of forestry science and forestry in general.

For forest professionals, who are generally insulted by large-scale environmental initiatives, there is and cannot be anything but botany, anthropology, herpetology, entomology, ornithology and other disciplines heavily focused on protectionism. They must also respect knowledge in ecology, economics, political science and sociology, as well as various technical sciences.

This was also reflected in the development of forest science. Their representatives in our country and in the world presented themselves more as structuralists. They understood each being as a complex system of relationships between the elements and a system involved in a larger system of relationships in their environment. Most of them, like Henri Bioley, Georg Ludwig Hartig, Hugo Konias, Josef Konšel and many others, were also important practitioners and managed large forest estates. They all sought to find compromises between their scientific knowledge, knowledge of other scientific disciplines, the interest of the owner and the necessary historical, social and societal considerations.

Such an approach is also essential in the forests of the Soutok and Bulhary Game Reserve. Both were created by demonstrable human activity, especially by the forests of Liechtenstein in the 17th and 18th centuries, and forest workers should continue their work today. Of course, with regard to current conditions, and of course even today from a multidisciplinary perspective, and above all, with a clear responsibility for the result.

If the proposed measures have a negative impact, will scientists be held responsible? What will be the responsibility of all those who sign the declarations of the Force? Who protects the heads of certain people or files criminal reports? Of course zero! This is appropriate, however, because science needs to know, teach, and teach, but not to make decisions or advocate shaking your head.

Although such an approach seems logical, it is different in the Czech Republic. When beautiful forest areas of biological value appear, which have been created through conscious human economic activity, the efforts of environmentalists, who aim to ‘break down’ the forests from there and seize the land in their own administration, emerge. at once. It is often a struggle for power and money rather than for nature conservation, and since I was a member of the board of directors of the State Environmental Fund in 2011-12, I can speak at length about the rationality of “noble” money for nature conservation.

The contempt for other conservation activities, in particular biosphere reserves, is also a very defining characteristic of these activities.

In the Sotok case, in a letter calling for the deputy minister’s dismissal, the actors said: “Biosphere reserves have no support in our legal system. Therefore, nothing of their presence would in any way help to protect the nature of their lands. Consequently, organic ocean reserves do not provide adequate protection, but do not protect the area at all. ”

I have no doubt that the authors never ignore the question of biosphere reserves. I just don’t understand why they are using such an argument. No doubt he knows very well what BRs are, who advertises them, what their meaning and what they do. The fact that BR’s activities do not only focus on protecting and supporting environmentally friendly agriculture, which guarantees sustainable development, is not an obstacle, but rather the opposite.

He also knows for sure that nature conservation is one of the main functions of BR, along with support for sustainable development, research, environmental education and education. In the core areas of BR, protection is the top priority.

Unlike the Czech Republic, many countries in the radiocommunication zone have included it in their legislation. The fact that this is not the case in the Czech Republic is only one example of a nature conservation approach, which is required by the laws, decrees and administrative procedures of the CIS in particular and raises questions about the activities of corporate volunteering that lead to the protection of nature. and conservation.

The so-called “bottom-up approach to nature conservation” is applied in many countries, which we think are often designed. It is undoubtedly more effective than extremely strict legislation which leads to circumvention rather than advantage.

Personally, I consider the activities of biosphere reserves, the Czech Federation for the Conservation of Nature and other activities of this nature much more beneficial than the unilateral and forced application of scientific advice, the consequences of which will never be borne. by the authors.

In one of the published texts, the sentence mentioned that the Deputy Minister of Agriculture had insulted all the scholars with his answer. Isn’t that an insult to all those who, in their spare time and often for their money, engage in biosphere reserves and about whom someone says nothing at all from the point of view of the protection of nature?

In most cases of these conflicts the situation is not resolved, what happens when the implemented solution, based on presumed scientific conclusions, does not achieve the desired effect.

In the case of Sotok, there are scientific opinions and quite the contrary – they warn against irresponsible experiments in lightening the vegetation and changing the water regime in large areas of vegetation. This vision is based on the long-term experience of forests with agricultural interventions in floodplain forests and on knowledge of the hydrological conditions of the area. Many scientists see great danger, especially in the emergence of weeds, light-loving woody plants, lowering of the level of groundwater, etc.

However, even for this, scientific methods have their own path, which is experience. It consists in that in a given area, objects, etc., it is checked to a limited extent whether the assumed hypothesis is correct and its application will lead to the expected results.

As far as I know, such a solution has been introduced several times in the Sotok region, but the massive requirements to declare a large protected area greatly limit such efforts. Likewise, when evaluating the Bulhary branch, LZ idlochovice will probably agree to allocate limited space, as the effect of measures proposed by scientists on the occurrence of jasmine will be examined.

However, if a group of academics assume that forensic reports on this issue are the best way to communicate, after 44 years of experience at all levels of forestry, forestry universities and political activism, I can responsibly declare that this is a fatal error.


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