State forest authority engaging in record levels of planting this year ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Forest planting in Auvere, Ida-Viru County.
Forest planting in Auvere, Ida-Viru County. Source: ERR

The state forestry commission, the RMK, is to plant 22.4 million trees in its forests this year, a higher figure than in previous years. The RMK is also spending more this year than at any time in the past - €19 million for both tree-planting and maintaining young forests.

The RMK plans also to plant nearly 400 hectares of trees on previously unforested land, including largely unused open areas as well as arable land and land formerly used for quarrying.

Toomas Väät, Head of RMK's forestry department, said that both coniferous and deciduous trees are to be planted in the selected locations, with all of them coming from RMK nurseries.

The bulk of the work (over 21 million trees) will be done this month and in May, with around a million spruce trees left over for autumn when conditions are more favorable for the species.

Väät said that the coronavirus pandemic had had its effects here too, with some planned planting days open to the public now cancelled. Around two-thirds of the work that is going ahead will make use of hired hands, and the remainder by RMK employees, väät added.

Investments are also going into forest management, Väät said.

"Planting itself is an activity that takes us eight weeks over the spring, but at other times we actually take care of these same plants. We carry out work including clearing areas and mowing them of grass, protecting saplings, later on light cutting work, over perhaps 40,000 hectares in a year. This aspect of the work is often overlooked by many people," Väät said.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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