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Association defending common interests of non-state forest owners

History

The contemporary history of SVOL dates back to April 2, 1992, when the constituent general meeting of the Association of Municipal Forests Owners was held. This step was initiated by the adoption of laws on restitution after 1989, by means of which the Czech state returned to communities their historical forest properties that they had owned as of December 31, 1949. The take-over of forests by their former owners brought a lot of problems, some of which the legislation had never solved before at all.

Therefore the renewed forest owners decided to resume the pre-World-War-II tradition of the Loose Association of Forest Districts in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, which in 1938 had 671 members managing 50 % of forests and woods in the republic, and established SVOL.

At the very beginning of its existence SVOL associated 93 members and membership was only limited to communities and towns. A few years later  also other categories of  non-state forest owners were allowed to enter SVOL.
Thanks to SVOL, communities were given back int. al. historical forests in national parks and also real property, private roads and minor buildings used for performing  forest functions, for execution of hunting rights etc. allocated to communities pursuant to Decrees of the President of the Republic or returned in compliance with acts on land reform.  SVOL played a decisive part in pursuing amendments to the act enabling transfer of real property of the former forest co-operatives of communities.

Upon the application of some forest co-operatives of communities and private owners, the decision was made in 1996 to receive as SVOL members also other non-state forest owners. Plenary session taken on 24 April 1998 approved of the change of statutes and the name of the Association. This step has meant a significant strengthening of the member base and a fundamental change in the existence of the Association. The joining of private forest owners consolidated its position, influence and importance not only in the Czech Republic but also towards neighboring countries and the EU. SVOL made appropriate contacts and started cooperating with relevant international associations and organizations. Since March 1999, SVOL has been a member of the Federation of European Communal Forests (FECOF) and a member of the European Confederation of Forest Owners (CEPF) in Brussels since July 1999.

Upon the decission of plenary session in 2000 the Executive Committee started preparing preconditions for regional organization of SVOL. It followed further development of the member base and the transfer of competencies from the Ministries and other institutions to regional authorities as a result of arrangements in the new distribution of state administration.

Since 2004 the SVOL has been composed of two chambers - Private Forest Chamber and Communal Forest Chamber. Private Forest Chamber is a legal entity, it is a collective member of the SVOL. The Chairman of the Private Forest Chamber is the 1. Vice-chairman of the SVOL.

Since 2005 SVOL has became a member of the European Landowners Organization (ELO), which is an umbrella of forest-, agricultural land- and fishpond-owners.

At present SVOL represents more than 1,260 non-state forest owners (communities, towns, private forests, forest co-operatives, unions of small-scale owners) managing c. 404,000 hectares of woodlands which are cca 15 % of the total forest area in the Czech Republic.