Hundreds of people across Estonia protested against the government's current forest policy on Sunday. There were demonstrations, nature walks, discussion groups or lectures, and a forest petition was readout.
ETV's evening news programme "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Sunday that 50 people gathered at Toompea outside the Riigikogu in Tallinn and many others elsewhere in Estonia to demand changes to the current policy.
The protesters want to see logging volumes reduced as well as nature-friendly forest management and the establishment of peace in state and private forests. They also want to change the State Forest Management Center (RMK) to the State Forest Protection Center and see attitudes towards forests and forest management change.
One protester at Toompea, who was wearing a sheep's mask, said RMK does what it wants and too much deforestation is taking place in Estonia
In Lääne County, at the Paralepa Forest Park near Haapsalu, a protest was held because there is concern about RMK's felling plans and the Environmental Board's idea the forest should be excluded from state protection.
"We find that the Paralepa forest as a whole, both the currently protected forest and the more distant forest, deserve protection, [and] should remain a recreational forest for people where clear-cutting can not take place," said Kätlin Tamm, a member of MTÜ Roheline Läänemaa.
In total, organizers said they counted 1,044 participants in a "cluster rally" held against the forest policy of the Estonian state on Sunday, whereas the actual number of people who turned up was somewhat bigger.
Chief organizer, Terje Povvat from the nonprofit Paastame Eesti Metsad (Save the Estonian Forest), told BNS on Monday: "The participants in the demonstration were not just environmentalists, but absolutely ordinary people who are concerned about their parks, mushrooming forests and sacred places. Those who couldn't make it to the demonstration can put their signature on the petition."
The petition available on the website at petitsioon.savetheforest.ee had been signed by 380 people during less than 24 hours by Monday morning.
Editor: Helen Wright