Paid for felling of sick trees by cutting down the healthy ones
his was a very unusual case of tree felling in Kneževo (Baranja). In early February of 2005 the townspeople of Kneževo started making calls about the felling of a «few trees» in a «small park». We immediately turned to the Municipality for information. We were told that the townspeople had wanted the trees to be cut down for their own safety. Since the same people complained to us about the felling, we questioned the veracity of the explanation that had been given to us by the Municipality, so we decided to contact the competent authorities!
The Inspectorate for Nature Protection of the Ministry of Culture informed us that the park isn't a protected area and thus doesn't fall under their jurisdiction. The Ministry of Environmental Protection didn't want to receive our report because they are not the competent authority for «trees». The Osijek-Baranja County Office for Environmental Protection also pointed out that the case doesn't fall under their jurisdiction. The City of Osijek didn't know to whom they would refer us. The Zagreb Forestry Inspectorate referred us to the Osijek regional office where we were informed that while log hauling is under the Office's jurisdiction they don't have the authority to prevent felling. The local government inspectorate has only one office located in Zagreb and does not have the capacity to take over the case.
Glas Slavonije and Slavonija Television reported about the case, but to no avail.
In the meantime the number of logs, mind you, not trees, increased to 50. This time the Municipality offered a different explanation. Since they didn't have enough money to pay for the felling of sick trees (which there were a few), they decided to make money by cutting down the healthy trees.
Once the Municipality decided to fell the trees, the entire «thing» became legal and none of the institutions had the authority to contest it, at least not the ones we'd contacted. Citizens estimate that owing to this «campaign» the Municipality made 200,000.00 HRK, but according to the municipal mayor there is only 15,000.00 HRK left after bearing the costs of felling.