Destruction and Replanting of the Urban Forest of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Igor LaćanEmail author
  • Joe R. McBride


Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, experienced severe damage during the 1991–1995 Yugoslav wars. During the 47-month-long Siege of Sarajevo from April 1992 to March 1996, the energy supplies to the city were cut off, and the besieged residents gradually cut down over three-quarters of all urban trees within the siege lines for use as firewood. In addition, some urban green spaces were converted into cemeteries, further reducing the number of urban trees. After the war, the city trees have gradually been replanted using primarily imported tree stock, as most of the local tree nurseries had been destroyed during the siege. This chapter presents the observations and measurements of trees which survived the war, as well as of the trees that have been planted after the war, made in Sarajevo in 2008, 13 years after the siege. We summarize the lessons learned from the Sarajevo experience, regarding both the patterns of damage and the effective strategies for replanting, which include the close relationship between the urban tree damage and the specifics of military operations, the importance of the initial planting stock, and the advantages of collaboration between academic researchers and urban forest managers in a large-scale replanting program.


Former Yugoslavia Municipal arboriculture Siege 



This study would not have been possible without the help of our colleagues in Sarajevo. Dean F. Mekić and professors M. Avdibegović, V. Beus (emeritus), and S. Vojniković of the Forestry Faculty at the University of Sarajevo provided extensive help with the study. Municipal Company Park-Sarajevo former Director O. Delić and Technical Director S. Hećo provided critical details on the urban forest destruction and replanting, and demonstrated some replanting efforts in the field. J. Bašić of the Municipal Company Sarajevo-Forests provided detailed information on the condition of peri-urban forests. D. Arnaut of the Cabinet of the Presidency – BiH provided invaluable help with developing our contacts in Sarajevo. We sincerely thank them all.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Honors ProgramPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science, Policy and ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, and Department of Environmental Science, Policy and ManagementUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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