Estonian Minister of the Environment Madis Kallas is to sign an order whereby the area for regeneration cutting in state-owned forests will be reduced from 10,490 hectares to 9,180 hectares over the next five years.
Environment minister reducing prescribed cut to 9,180 hectares
The reduction of the area for regeneration cutting during the period from 2023 to 2027 concerns pine stands the most and to a smaller degree also birch, aspen and other tree species. The volume of felling necessary due to bark beetle damage will be added the to the planned 9,180 hectares, the Ministry of the Environment said.
Kallas said that forest management has exceeded the environment's tolerance threshold and the fastest way to improve the situation is to reduce the prescribed cut in state-owned forests.
«Estonian forests and environment have waited long enough for logging volumes to finally be reduced. Forests are not merely an asset because of the wood derived from them but also because of their biodiversity. Our forests are home to at least 20,000 species whom forest management must take into consideration,» Kallas said in a press release.
«The present coalition has agreed that the prescribed cut in state-owned forests is to be reviewed and adjusted as necessary. Estonia must pursue more sustainable forest management and, therefore, the area for regeneration cutting has to be reduced. The new prescribed cut is based on proposals by the Environment Agency for the minimum area for regeneration cutting,» the minister said. «We also specified in the forestry development plan that the prescribed cut must gradually be reduced. We wanted to wait for the development plan process but the decision regarding the prescribed cut cannot be postponed any more.»
Kallas said that also going forward, forests must be managed more sustainably through reductions in the prescribed cut.
«Both the present and future coalitions should ensure that the biodiversity of forests be protected, that greater value be added to wood in Estonia, more jobs be created in the sector and that fair compensation be paid for the privately owned forest lands that are subject to restrictions,» he added.
Pursuant to the Forest Act, the minister of the environment will annually specify the optimal area of timber permitted to be cut in the state forest within a year by way of regeneration cutting, including the area of pine stands, spruce stands, birch stands and aspen stands by tree species, for each manager of the state forest by Dec. 1.
Kallas made a proposal to the government to reduce the prescribed cut in Dec. 1 last year but the proposal was not approved at the time.