RMK profit increased 29% in a year
According to preliminary data, The Estonian State Forest Management Centre (RMK) earned a profit of 40.7 million euros, on a turnover of 163.5 million euros, in 2014. Compared to the previous year, the turnover increased by 5.6 percent and the profit by 29.3 percent.
According to Aigar Kallas, chairman of the management board of RMK, the increase was mainly due to the improved quality of timber. “The sold quantity of timber remained the same as last year; however, the proportion of logs increased to 45 percent. In 2013, the proportion of logs accounted for 40 percent of RMK’s total sales,” Kallas said. “The eventual yield of logs was increased due to the more skilled execution of the harvesting process as well as the improved capability of the timber industry to process increasingly thinner timber on site.
In total, RMK sold 3.2 million cubic metres of timber for 151 million euros in 2014, plus 140,000 cubic metres of wood chips. Pulpwood accounted for 36 percent, firewood 15 percent, and wood chips for 4 percent of the total sales volume. Timber sales are also expected to pay the 700,000-euro bill for the clearance of the Eastern border. A year before, RMK’s sales turnover was 155 million euros and profit 31.5 million euros.
In 2014, RMK’s recreational and protected areas were visited 1.9 million times. Within the year, 533 kilometers of study and hiking trails were established and reconditioned. “Moving around in nature becomes more and more popular each year, with RMK’s recreational infrastructure bringing an ever increasing number of people into the forest,” Kallas said.
Over the last few years RMK has focused on developing two branches of the long hiking trail running across Estonia, which connect already existing trails and recreation sites to each other. It is estimated that last year almost 70,000 people used the 375 kilometers long Oandu-Ikla and the 628 kilometers long Aegviidu-Ärijärve branches of the hiking trail.
Nature conservation work on state land - e.g. the establishment of the infrastructure, necessary for the restoration of swamps and maintenance of meadows - took up 1.8 million euros of last year's budget. “For example, we completed the Kloostri bridge-regulator, necessary for the maintenance of the Kasari flood meadow - Northern Europe’s largest - and prolonging the flood period,” Kallas said. “A project that had lasted for a year-and-a-half also came to an end, as a result of which we mapped and placed under protection the movement corridor of flying squirrels in their main habitat in Alutaguse forests.”
A total of 18.5 million trees were added to the state forest, 10.8 million of which were pines, 6.6 million spruces and 1.1 million birches. In two-thirds of the clear cut areas, planting or sowing of new trees was done to ensure the regeneration of the woodland habitat.
RMK, which employs more than 700 people, is the keeper, protector and manager of the forest and other natural biotic communities belonging to the Republic of Estonia. RMK earns a profit for the state through forest management, growing reforestation material, and organising forest and nature conservation works.