History of Institute of Forest Ecology

The scientific background of the Institute of Forest Ecology SAS is dated to the years 1894 – 1898 with such important research institutions as the Arboretum Mlyňany, the Central Research Forestry Station in Banská Štiavnica and especially the years 1951 – 1954 when was established the Forestry Laboratory Academy of Sciences in Bratislava led by Dr. Ing. Vladimír Biskupský, PhD. in partnership with Prof. Dr. Bohumil Doležal, DrSc.

After the Forestry Laboratory Academy of Sciences in Bratislava had been abolished, the scientists moved to the Research Institute of Forestry in Banská Štiavnica and since 1964 in Zvolen.

The Institute of Forest Ecology was established on 1st January 1983 by the Presidium SAS resolution number 743 from 27th April 1982 as a Forest Ecosystem Research Institute subsidiary office of the Institute of Experimental Biology and Ecology and the Centre for Bio-Ecological Sciences SAS. Working capacity at that time consisted of three research stations in Central Slovakia (Banská Bystrica, Staré Hory and Východná) with twenty research workers and five scientists.

The effort to build an independent scientific institute was successfully achieved on 1st July 1987. The Presidium SAS at 48th session confirmed the establishment of the Institute of Forest Ecology as a part of the Centre for Bio-Ecological Sciences SAS with the Director Ľudovít Weissmann based in this building, who was also the director of the Institute of Experimental Biology and Ecology.

In the period when the Presidium SAS cancelled the Centre Bio-Ecological Sciences were established following research institutions – the Institute of Experimental Phytopathology and Entomology SAS in Ivanka pri Dunaji, the Arboretum Mlyňany and the Institute of Dendrobiology in Vieska nad Žitavou.

Since 1st January 1983, the Institute of Forest Ecology SAS has been an independent institution with its own technical and economic administration, which means a completely financial and organizational independent constitution.

During the years 1990 – 1993, the Institute of Forest Ecology outperformed a number of changes which implied from social situation and restructuralisation of SAS. Result of these changes was the delimitation of the Institute of Dendrobiology located in the Arboretum Mlyňany, and there was established the Branch for Woody Plants Biology in Nitra with two departments. The director of the institute became Assoc. Prof. Ing. Ferdinand Tokár, DrSc. and the Breeding Plants Institute was led by Ing. Aurélia Kamenická, PhD., located in the Arboretum Mlyňany.

The Institute of Animal Biochemistry and Genetics in Zvolen was affiliated to IFE on 1st July 1993. The academic history of the institute has been dated since 1974 when was founded SAS Research Institute in Zvolen covered by the Institute of Animal Physiology in Košice. In the same year, the Institute of Animal Biochemistry and Genetics was cancelled and selected scientists were removed to the Institute of Forest Ecology SAS, even to the Department of Applied Evolutionary Ecology in Banská Štiavnica led by Ing. Peter Múdry, PhD.

In the 30 long-year history, it is impressive to see the remarkable fact that just our institute has retained its own identity and independence till now and is the only academic research institution of SAS in Central Slovakia (Banská Bystrica region).

Further period meant a rapid rate of progress achieved in the field of research activities and building position in Slovak academic circles and the EU area. That development of the Institute of Forest Ecology helped to nurture new scientists for rapidly changing station.

The Breeding Plants Institute located in the Arboretum Mlyňany was detached from the Institute of Forest Ecology in 2001 and affiliated to the Arboretum Mlyňany as a result of an effort to rebuild the cancelled research station.

Historical overview and characteristics of the institute:
1983 – 1990 – establishment and development of IFE

1990 – 2000 – the process of transformation in Slovak Society and also in Slovak Academy of Sciences

2000 – 2016 – a period of the institute’s stabilization and development in research infrastructure. We would like to thank the Presidium of SAS and all scientists for their support and interest. This period is characterized and marked by efforts to stabilize equity – related environment, which means the integration of IFE into the EU structures.

2016 – 2021 – a new stage in the development of the institute based on strategic planning, regular updating of the IFE Action Plan and application of the principles of open communication. In the given period, changes were also implemented within the organizational structure of the institute.

1st January 2022 – change in the organizational form of the institution, transformation of IFE into a public research institution. SAS issued the Foundation Charter for IFE SAS, a public research institution on 15th November 2021, with effect since 1st January 2022.

The institute has its headquarters in Zvolen. The other satellite workplaces are located in Nitra (the Branch for Woody Plants Biology), Bratislava and Mlyňany (the Arboretum).

The most recent enlargement of the institute facilities represents a detached branch in Bratislava (since 1st November 2012, the Department of Strategic Environmental Analyses, formerly belonging to the Prognostic Institute SAS and since 1st December 2013, the Department of Molecular Apidology, formerly belonging to the Institute of Molecular Biology SAS). Following the decision No. 242C of the Presidium SAS dated on 3rd April 2014, the specialized organization of SAS – the Arboretum Mlyňany has merged with the Institute of Forest Ecology SAS since 1st July 2014, while the original name of the workplace “Arboretum Mlyňany” was retained. Following the decision No. 1204C of the Presidium SAS dated on 11th March 2021, the Laboratory of Molecular Apidology has been delimited to the Centre of Biosciences SAS since 1st April 2021.

According to the Foundation Charter No. 305/G/12/2014 signed on 20th June 2014, the institute focuses on the basic and applied research in forest ecology. The institute´s research programme features the research on changes, processes and stressors important for the stability, structure, production and protection of forest ecosystems.