State forestry commission the RMK has reported a revenue of €187.5 million and operating profits of €82.4 million for 2020. Over half of the profit arose from the sale of land in southwest Estonia earmarked for a wind farm.
The annual report showed good results, RMK board chair Hardi Tullus said, while good progress was made in conservation and recreational areas, he added.
€42.9 million of the operating profits arose from the sale of the Tootsi site in Pärnu County in February 2020.
The plot sold for over €51 million, more than four times its estimated price, at auction, and was sold by another state firm, electricity generator Eesti Energia.
The other half of the RMK's operating profit derived from timber sales, though this was affected by a 20 percent fall in world prices on year. While the price of logs and pulpwood stabilized through 2020, the price of firewood continued to fall, the RMK says.
At year end, timber log prices rose to a now record-level, the RMK adds, meaning that its forecast for 2021 is for results of a similar level as 2020.
The RMK owns and administers around 40 percent of Estonia's forest. Around half of Estonia as a whole is forest-covered, with close to three-quarters of it used for commercial purposes, including by the RMK. Environmental criticisms include mismanagement with regard to tree felling, and the RMK's headquarters in Tallinn are frequently picketed by protestors.
The RMK paid in €66 million to the state budget and €4.7 million to local governments, via land tax, in 2020.
Timber sales stood at 4 million cubic meters, slightly up from 2019, with log timber accounting for 46 percent of this, pulpwood 32 percent, firewood 16 percent and wood chippings 6 percent.
Hiking trails and recreation zones in RMK territory saw 2.9 million visits in 2020, boosted by travel restrictions and the resulting rise in domestic tourism, while 6,500 hectares of natural habitat was restored.
Editor: Andrew Whyte