Cutting Rogoza / 2017
It happened in spring 2017. The municipality of Hoče-Slivnica decided to cut a large portion of the Rogoza forest, nearby Maribor - without having properly announced the decision to its citizens. The reason behind the deforestation was the fact that Magna Steyr, a large multinational corporation needed the land. Most of the forest had already been cut during the industrialisation of the last 20 years abruptly enacted in the area of Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city. I was approached by my dear friend Simon Žlahtič immediately after he discovered the dramatic event and the illegal act that was going to be put underway. He asked me to do a film about the forest in order to bring awareness to this situation and confront the local authorities on the matter. 66 hectares were supposed to start being cut on June 1st. We shot the film in 3 days - between late April and early May and I have edited it in only 2 days. All of this happened quickly, alongside a sustained campaign of Simon and other locals of trying to make the situation reach national news. The situation did reach national headlines in days and the cutting was stopped, while unfortunately being used as a political tool before the Slovenian elections.
In the vicinity of the former industrial city Maribor, in the neighbouring municipality Hoče-Slivnica, the new industrial zone of the region is being constructed. New industrial halls are growing on former agricultural areas. The latest project in the making is the construction of a factory from the multinational company Magna-Steyr. The original estimates, the realisation of which followed soon, were of 100 ha of first class soil being destroyed in the process.
As a balancing project, the authorities offered replacement agricultural areas on the grounds of the Rogoza forest. For this purpose, the municipality legally enabled the destruction of 66ha of the forest to provide replacement agricultural areas, with which they prepared for clearing the whole forest, the act of which is prohibited by Slovenian law.
The residents of Rogoza, a settlement trapped between a growing industrial zone and a forest, have connected within the community and stood against the intentions of the municipality and the government. With the clearing of the forest, they would lose their last shelter from the urbanisation of the countryside as well as an important natural habitat with an important function of lessening the already present negative effects of the industrialisation.
In the documentary, the author researches the problematics of the events around the Rogoza forest through his esthetics, as the events resonated with the local community and the whole country. Through the medium of documentaries, the author portrays the bipolarity, the entrapment of people between urbanisation and nature, between the people and the government. The documentary, which was strongly influenced by the current thematic, was the first documentary about the events in this area. It captures the beginning of the battles of the residents of Rogoza, while also presenting the viewpoint of the local authorities.
director: Daniel Djamo
sound: Aybala Duyduk
production: Pekarna Magdalenske Mreže, GuestRoomMaribor and Film Factory Maribor
running time: 32 minutes
special thanks: Domitille Boulon, Ciril Kolar, Lucija Smodis & Simon Žlahtič
articles links: http://www.rtvslo.si/news-in-english/civil-initiative-says-cutting-forest-because-of-magna-steyr-will-lower-living-standards/420764
Civil initiative says cutting forest because of Magna Steyr will lower living standards
Municipality officials have not consulted with local residents
25. April 2017 ob 21:28
Rogoza - MMC RTV SLO
Residents of Rogoza have established a civil initiative called Save the Rogoza Forest. They strongly oppose the intention of the Municipality of Hoče - Slivnica to replace part of its agricultural land, awarded to Magna Steyr for building a factory, by cutting down a forest area.
The Municipality of Hoče - Slivnica is still in search of agricultural land, which is to replace the land already awarded to the Magna Steyr car manufacturer for the construction of a paint shop. The municipality needs to find tens of hectares of land, and therefore plans to cut down some forest. It intends to partly replace the given away agricultural land by cutting down around 66 hectares of forest on the border between Rogoza and Miklavž na Dravskem polju. The Save the Rogoza Forest initiative strongly opposes the plan.
Although the forest in question is not regarded as high in quality, locals feel cutting it down would lower their living standards. They warn that the quality of air and drinking water will deteriorate, that their environment will become heavily influenced by agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, that the price of local real estate would drop, and that their exposure to meteorological disasters will increase.
"The natural function of trees is to improve air quality and capture excess CO2 emissions. Cutting them down would lead to the further deterioration of our air quality," said Simon Žlahtič, a member of the civil initiative.
Žlahtič adds that agricultural land could be looked for elsewhere. He explains that the municipality had already been searching elsewhere for a replacement location. "It would probably take a little more time and a little more effort to find and establish the locations, but they decided to take the easiest path and draw up the land on the outskirts of the municipality," added Žlahtič.
Concerned about the effects on the environment
Marta Majer, another member of the civil initiative, explains that top municipality officials never consulted with the locals about cutting down the forest. Despite several requests, there was never even a meeting with the mayor. "We found out about the municipality's intention from the media. Nobody talked with the locals, with those who would most affected by this decision," said Majer.
Members of the civil initiative do not oppose the construction of the Magna Steyr factory or the expansion of the Maribor airport, but are concerned about the environmental impact the industrialization of the area will bring.
They will now try harmonize their positions with the other civil initiatives in the region, and then take joint action in tackling the further industrialization of the area.
Bratko Zavrnik/Radio Slovenija, Sa. J.; translated by K. J.