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110 anniversary of forest research in Slovakia 
 
The Forest Research Institute with its 110th anniversary celebrated in 2008 is one of the oldest forestry institutions in Slovakia. At present, it forms an integral part of the National Forest Centre and is engaged in forestry and tree related research.  
 
Brief history
 
The regulation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire Minister of Agriculture from 31 December 1897 provided legal framework for the establishment of the Central Forest Research Station. The station, founded in 1898, was attached to the existing Forestry Academy in Banská Štiavnica and since 1899 published its own research journal. Soon after the station joined IUFRO (1903) which commissioned it to organise the seventh congress of the Union in 1914 but that never happened, for the war of 1914-18 broke out about a month before the congress was due to open and it was to be a long time before the next gathering took place. Research activities were most concentrated on issues related to natural distribution of forest tree species, natural regeneration and planting, tending, provenience and introduction of exotic tree species. Research into the introduction of exotic tree species was significantly improved after the establishment of forest arboretum in Kysihýbl in 1900. Promising development of research activities was abruptly halted by the World War I and dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.
The dissolution was followed by the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1939). During this period, Banská Štiavnica reinforced its dominance in the state's forestry sector with a number of new state forest research institutes being set up there after the war.
The Institute for Silviculture and Forest Biology was established on the premises of the former Experimental Research Station in Kysihýbl. Its research activities primarily focused on various aspects of acclimatisation of exotic tree species, selection forests, natural regeneration and tending in oakwoods. Since 1927, the portfolio of its activities included also seed and nursery inspection, establishment and administration of approved stands records and seed germination testing. Research into forest protection covered a wide range of topics including fungal diseases, frost damage, and game and cattle grazing damage.
Another newly established institute - the Institute for Felling and Wood Technology, specialised in felling and timber research of beech (brown kern, impregnation and fireproof timber coatings, felling, mechanical processing and use of beech timber).
The break of the World War II brought an end to further development of the aforementioned institutes. The latter mentioned was dissolved while the Institute for Silviculture and Forest Biology had its activities reduced to seed inspection only. After the war, forest research in Banská Štiavnica gradually returned to its promising pre-war development. The newly founded Headquarters for Forest Research Institutes provided and umbrella for a number of institutes specialising in the following areas: forest protection, forest soil science, forest biology and seed management, felling and game management. In addition, a number of specialised research stations (Oravský Podzámok, Gabčíkovo, Liptovský Hrádok, Košice) was set up to deal with multiple urgencies of forestry practice. Forest research was also featured in portfolio of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. In the period 1948 – 1959 forest research underwent major organizational changes including status and name changes. In the late 1950s, Banská Štiavnica institute gradually absorbed all Slovak forest research establishments. Under a new name – the Forestry Research Institute, it became a national centre for forest science and research.
In the following decades (1960 – 1990) the institute established itself as a reputable research body with 7 affiliated offices and a number of permanent research and demonstration objects. In 1964, its Headquarters moved to Zvolen. Despite political isolation and the "Eastern Bloc" membership, many works of its leading researchers (silviculture, forest protection, forest planning, game management, technical amelioration, felling and forest transport, etc.) earned international credit and reputation. Successful development of the institute was reflected also in the number of full-time staff and the number of researchers awarded high academic titles which grew from 143/2 in 1958 to 297/77 in 1977 and 341/69 in 1990.
Political changes after the 1989 Velvet Revolution heralded new era for the institute - its name changed to the Forest Research Institute (FRI) and was followed by organisational changes and improved opportunities for active participation in international research cooperation.
On the down side, these changes severely cut funding into forest research which in 1991–2003 operated under a crisis regime. These conditions had a profound effect on research capacity; restrictive measures applied included also staff layoffs and experienced researchers leaving for other research bodies, forestry practice or jobs outside forestry. The decline in staff numbers was finally halted in 2004 when FRI employed 127 employees of which 36 were researchers with academic titles.
In 1998, a number of events was organised to commemorate the centenary of forest research in Slovakia. Of these events, the following are worth mentioning:jubilee international conference Forests and Forestry Research for the Third Millennia; 5th annual conference of the European Forest Institute (EFI); FAO/ECE/ILO seminar Improvement of Working Conditions and Enhancement of Productivity in Forest Sector; Session of the Joint FAO/ECE/ILO Committee on Forest Technology, Management and Training; Session of the Slovak Academy of Agricultural Sciences; LES – DREVO ´98 (FOREST – WOOD´98) exhibition.
 In the course of the events, the Minister of Agriculture with leading representatives of forest sector, research and education, foreign guests and representatives of IUFRO and FAO handed over to the Forest Protection Service a reconstructed original building of the institute in Banská Štiavnica.
 
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