PRIVATE FORESTRY IN ESTONIA

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1 PRIVATE FORESTRY IN ESTONIA

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3 FORESTS IN ESTONIA Estonia lies within the latitude of N in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. Due to moderate maritime climate conditions for forest growth are very suitable. Estonia belongs primarily to the northern area of the nemoralconiferous or mixed forest belt. Of all the woodlands, 51% of stands are dominated by Photo: Kärt Sarjas deciduous species and 49% by coniferous species making landscapes very diverse. Without the limiting influence of humans forests would cover most of Estonia s mainland. In fact, 3,000 years ago more than 80% of the mainland was covered with forests. Due to human activity, 100 years ago forests covered only 30% of 4.5 million hectares of the total area of Estonia. Today forests cover around 50% of the territory of Estonia contributing to approximately 2.2 million hectares with the growing stock around million m3. Therefore, it is not surprising that forestry has very long traditions in Estonia. Source: Estonian Forestry 2011

4 Source: Estonian Forestry 2011 HISTORY For the first time the possibility of buying out modern farms including forest land (10-50 ha) was introduced in the second half of 19th century. As a result, farm forests were re-established. When the Soviet Union occupied Estonia in 1940, farmland was nationalized and once again, farm forests became the property of the state. 1980s were the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. Estonia regained independence in 1991 and began to restore its economy. The restitution process was initiated and forests were returned to the previous owners or their predecessors. Long-term loans created conditions for the privatization of forest land and timber industry. Today there are approximately 80,000 private forest owners (natural and legal persons) in Estonia.

5 Source: Yearbook FOREST 2009 PRIVATE FORESTRY Private forest owners manage around 811,208 ha (48%) of forest land in Estonia with the growing stock of around 275 million m 3. The average area of private forest land is 12.5 hectares. Only around 40% of all private forest owners live near their property. Approximately 4,000 of the total of 80,000 private forest owners are members of local private forest owners associations. It is beneficial for private forest owners to join local forestry associations responsible for organising joint activities, managing advisory services and providing private forest owners with information. In every county in Estonia a regional support person has been appointed to work together with the local association, deliver primary forestry information, disseminate information about the activities of the local association, refer forest owners with specific questions to the advisors and communicate with media and public. In addition, there are qualified specialists working as private forest advisors to provide forest owners with advice on silviculture and other specific forestry issues. There are about 80 private forest advisors in Estonia. Counselling services are eligible for national support.

6 Source: Eesti Statistika (www.stat.ee; ) Source: Yearbook FOREST 2009

7 Source: Yearbook FOREST 2009 Participants of Private Forestry Support System

8 ASSOCIATIONS AND ORGANISATIONS Local private forest owners associations... have 4,000 members concentrated in 47 associations owning ca 250,000 ha of forest land.... unite regional natural and legal persons owning forest land. provide private forest owners with advisory service and counselling, organise events (meetings, fieldtrips, competitions), assist in applying for supports, protect the interests of private forest owners (hunting regulations, environmental restrictions etc). organise joint economic activities (such as timber sale, cooperation between members in forestry work etc). as the forestry organisations closest to individual forest owners play the most significant role in supporting private forest owners in their activities. Estonian Private Forest Union (EPFU) Established in 2002 Unites more than 40 regional forest owner associations Represents the interests of private forest owners Participates in the development of Estonian forest policy and in the legislative process; EPFU is an international partner of the following organizations: o Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) o The European Landowners Organization (ELO) o International Family Forest Alliance (IFFA) Contacts Address: Mustamäe tee 50 (2 nd floor), Tallinn, Estonia Phone:

9 United Forest Owners Established in 2009 Concentrates on timber sales Responsible for finding the most profitable and trustworthy buyer for the timber of private forest owners Organises auctions Helps private owners with organising forest felling and regeneration. Forest Savings and Loan Association Aims at increasing the independence of private forest owners and developing private forestry Holds the money of and loans money to the members Provides financial counselling Contacts Address: Tallinna mnt 4, Risti alevik, Risti vald 90901, Lääne county, Estonia Phone: Estonian Society of Foresters Concentrates forestry workers and enthusiasts with similar views to develop forestry, use and protect forests Distributes information about forests Organises various events Contacts Address: Mustamäe tee 50 ( 3 rd floor ), Tallinn, Estonia

10 GOVERNMENTAL INSTITUTIONS Ministry of the Environment Develops Estonian forestry and hunting policies through Forest Department Collects, processes and aggregates data about Estonian nature including forests and forestry through Environmental Information Centre Is responsible for the supervision of compliance to the law through its governmental authorities such as Environmental Inspectorate, Environmental Board and Land Board Contacts Address: Narva mnt 7a, Tallinn, Estonia Phone: , Fax: The foundation Private Forest Centre (PFC) Established in 1999 The main objective is to ensure sustainable and efficient forest management practices in Estonian private forests Aims at educating and advising forest owners and advisors Administrates the state supports and the EU funds (Estonian Rural Development Plan ) allocated for private forestry Interacts with foreign forest owners Participates in several international forestry projects (BALTIC 21 forestry forum, INTERREG, ForEUBioWood Project, Life+ Project) Develops forestry projects in cooperation with similar organisations in other European countries. Contacts Address: Mustamäe tee 50 (2 nd floor), Tallinn, Estonia Phone:

11 SUPPORTS National supports Most of the funding is allocated for supporting the development of forest management plans, group and private advisory services and reforestation Since 2000 national supports are granted from the state budget for the development of private forestry Supports are granted for private forest owners for sustainable management of forests and forest regeneration with the aim of ensuring sustainability Supports are targeted at the development of joint activities of regional private forest owners European Union supports Most of the funding is allocated for the protection of Natura 2000 areas, improvement cutting, purchase of forestry machinery, equipment and accessories and prevention of forest fires Forestry supports are provided in the Estonian Rural Development Plan The EU supports are allocated from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (the EAFRD) and co-financed from the state budget of Estonia Supports are administrated by the PFC but the payments are made by the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB).

12 Source: PFC EU forestry subsidies in Estonia in 2009 and 2010 (EUR) Natura 2000 support for 1,627, ,417, private forest land Investment support for 1,669, ,509, improving the economic value of forests (Measure ) Investment support for 47, , restoration of damaged forest and prevention of forest fires (Measure ) Source: PFC

13 ECONOMY Estonian forests play an essential role in economy, as well as maintaining the ecological balance and carrying out social functions. Forestry is one of the most important branches of Estonia s economy. Wood and woodproducts are almost the only articles in Estonia s foreign trade balance which have positive balance. Around 31,000 workers were employed in forestry sector in Together with timber, furniture and paper industry forestry provides 3.7% of Estonia s GDP (2009). Source: Eesti Statistika (www.stat.ee; ) Photo: Jüri Pere

14 Source: Estonian Forestry 2011 Photo: Jüri Pere

15 PROTECTION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY In private forests biodiversity is mainly related to the designation of Natura 2000 network. There are several legal acts imposing restrictions on forests under protection: Minimum rotation age for regeneration cutting Thinning levels allowed for improvement cutting Obligation to retain at least 5 m 3 of retention trees per ha Obligation to protect woodland key habitats; a support system has been established to compensate for the loss of profit

16 HUNTING Regulated by the Hunting Act Landowners have the right to hunt for small game on their land. They also have the right to prohibit hunting or establish requirements for hunting on their property Big game are allowed to hunt only in hunting districts There are 324 hunting districts in Estonia 55 species are listed as game in Estonia. Most popular hunting game are moose (Alces alces), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and row deer (Capreolus capreolus) Damage by herbivorous game is not compensated for by the state. Collaboration between forest owners and hunters is needed to control the damage by game Estonian Hunters Society provides hunting instruction for hunters and grants hunting permits Photo: Kärt Sarjas

17 EVERY MAN S RIGHT Every man s right means that forests in general are accessible to all people, from sunrise to sunset. Use of forest land is only restricted in cases where the forest owner informs the visitors about restrictions and if the forest owner has made particular expenses related to it. It is also allowed to gather wild berries, mushrooms, flowers, medicinal plants, hazelnuts and other natural products that are not under nature protection. Recreational use of forests is often related to mushroom picking, gathering wild berries and hiking. Many hiking tracks and places for making fire and resting have been established in forests all over Estonia. Photo: Kärt Sarjas

18 Development plans for Estonian private forestry Estonian Forestry Development Plan until 2020 provides the following development goals for Estonian forestry: more supports will be targeted at the activities increasing potential forest growth and managing forests more costefficiently (eg tending of young stands, forest melioration, advisory service, landscape preservation, development of forest management plans, development of infrastructure); national supports will only be paid to the members of local forest owners associations in order to promote collaboration; in the long term, more cost-efficient use of national supports will be introduced; in terms of developing the private forest owners support system the aim is to increase the share of self-financing and decrease the share of state financing; co-operation of private forest owners has to be supported to make forest management more attractive for private owners and ensure availability of sustainable support system; capability of local forest owners associations of providing services and marketing will be improved; the opportunities for increasing the influence and profitability of this sector are related to coordinated joint actions, marketing and adding value to the forestry products (eg cooperation in timber sales). References: Estonian Forestry 2011 Estonian Private Forestry Development Plan Statistics Estonia (www.stat.ee; ) Yearbook FOREST ( ) Development Plan of the Foundation Private Forest Centre and the Private Forestry Support System Estonian Forestry Development Plan until 2020

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20 SA Erametsakeskus tellimusel koostas: Eesti Metsaselts Väljaandmist finantseerib SA Keskkonnainvesteeringute Keskus Trükikoda Paar, 2011

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