Five-year trend shows declining forest reserves — agency

Forest in southeast Estonia (photo is illustrative).
Forest in southeast Estonia (photo is illustrative). Source: Stenbocki maja

Over the last five years, there has been a decline in forest reserves, data from the Environmental Agency shows. More than 51 percent of Estonia is covered with forests.

Data from the agency shows 51.3 percent of Estonia is forest and the share of protected areas has risen by 30 percent, data from the latest statistical forest inventory shows.

Hiiu, Valga and Ida-Viru counties have the highest volume of forests at 68, 64 and 63 percent, respectively.

Experts estimate the volume of felling in 2021 reached 10.6 million cubic meters, of which 76 percent was clear-cutting. This is the same as the year before. Felling is measured by comparing satellite images.

No significant changes in the area or composition of forests took place last year, Director of the Environmental Agency Taimar Ala said.

"The area of ​​forest land has remained the same in recent years, but the trend of the last five years shows a slight decrease in forest reserves," he said.

Madis Raudsaar, a specialist at the Environmental Agency, said the overall trend shows a decline in coniferous trees, but in state-owned forests they make up 62 percent. The majority of trees in Estonian forests are either pine or birch.

He said felling volumes have stabilized at approximately 11 million cubic meters in recent years.

More than a third of Estonia's forests are over 60 years old, the report said. Sixty percent of trees in protected forests are over 60 years old but in commercial forests this drops to 30 percent.

The yearbook also said there had been an increase in the number of young forests planted in recent years.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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