Environmentalists protest against Estonia's state forestry policy
On Friday afternoon, a crowd of people unhappy with the status quo in Estonia's forestry sector assembled in front of the Ministry of the Environment in a demonstration against the current and planned changes to the state forestry policy.
Estonia's forest reserves are threatened with shrinking, found environmental assocations and researchers from the Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMÜ) as well as University of Tartu (TÜ) who have stepped up in defense of the country's forests.
Raul Rosenvald, senior research fellow in the field of silviculture at EMÜ, told ETV's news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Thursday that cutting capacities as specified in the Estonian Forestry Development Plan are not sustainable.
According to Minister of the Environment Marko Pomerants (IRL), the dispute involving cutting capacities arose due to differences in methodology.
"In one case, all Estonian forests, regardless of whether or not they are under protection, are taken into account in calculating growth rates, while in the other case only those where logging occurs, i.e. commerical forests, are," said the minister.
Environmental organizations are also criticizing the government for not taking their positions into account when developing changes to the current Forest Act.
Following an hour-long demonstration in front of the Ministry of the Environment, protesters continued on through Tallinn's medieval Old Town and up to Toompea Hill to continue protesting in front of the Riigikogu.