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The Desert and the River


Growing a forest takes time. It can take more than 100 years for a tree to “ripen”. That’s why foresters rarely get the chance to see the forest they planted reach the proper size and stage when it should be harvested.

When Jan Bedrich Bechtel started on the post of the head forester of the Bzenec estate in 1823, he had his work cut out for him: he was facing the difficult task of reforesting the area of once splendid Bzenecka Doubrava (Bzenec Oak Forest), later devastated by intensive logging and overgrazing. Bechtel was only 23 and he was open to new methods. Although these did not always meet with understanding and approval in his colleagues, Bechtel’s tireless efforts were eventually crowned with success and during the following 25 years the major part of the open sands area was reforested. If he saw the results of his work today, Bechtel would be undoubtedly pleased. He was the first forester who succeeded in reforesting open sands with pine.

Another achievement of his, which is less known, is his contribution to the development of formal forest education and training. He initiated the establishment of the first forest school in Moravia at the Usov chateau (1852). To commemorate his important work here, at the former Bzenec estate, a memorial was erected in 1906 at Bzenec-privoz.

Brechtel memorial

GPS position

N 48° 56.528', E 17° 17.489'



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