The fight against giant hogweed - an ornamental and honey plant in some countries, a detested invasive species in many others - expanded to take in even more territory this year.
The Environmental Board official responsible for the eradication project, Madli Linder, told Postimees the area where the campaign is being waged is now at 1,945 hectares, eight times the area in the first year of the program, 2005.
She said the the area is growing because eradication can't manage to reach all stands of the weed, and also because the Environmental Board is seeking out affected areas more actively. Some "colonies" have been successfully destroyed, with no regrowth spotted for several years.
But it is also spreading in places where no eradication has taken place, she said, such as riverbanks, railways and road shoulders. Both giant hogweed and its close relative Sosnowsky's hogweed can cause skin burns on contact.
Viljandi County has the most hogweed - in particular, Karksi, Viiratsi, Abja and Tarvastu municipalities. The annual budget for the program is currently 928,000 euros.