Monday, May 5, 2008

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT ESTONIAN FORESTRY

By: Erik Konsenkranius, Estonia

Estonia is a small Baltic State on the coast of Baltic Sea. The area under forests is about 1,819,000 ha (42% of total area). The greater part of the trees are pines, spuces and birches.

The state of Estonian forests is annually estimated through monitoring and inventories. The damaged area of forests is 4800 ha. Most of the damages are caused by animals (moose, roe deer and beavers) and by Heterobasidion annosum or Armillaria sp. The damages caused by air pollution are not very acute yet.

Our biggest problem is how to manage our forests. Our country is now in economic crisis and almost everybody sees a way of escape in forest business. Our timber export volume increases every day and the potential risk of damage, caused by people, increase too. Total feelings in Estonian forests is officially about 3,007.5 th. Solid m3, but the actual cut will be different.

Our biggest trade partners are Finland, Russia and Sweden. We sell timber and saw-mill products to Finland and Sweden, and buy forest machinery from Sweden and Germany. This is our second problem. How much to use machinery?

On 15-17 Feb 1993 our university was visited by Prof. Dr. Hans-Jurgen von Maydell. During his tree-day visit he explained to us the world forestry situation. He advised us to think about forestry mechanization. Is it right to spend a lot of foreign currency to buy big machinery from abroad and minimize the number of forestry workers?

Is ist right for us to copy forestry economic policy form big industrial states like Germany, Canada, etc., or created our own policy? How to decrease unemployment in forestry and what to do with those people who live in forests, but are now out of work? How much does big machinery damage our forests soils?

The answer we must find ourselves, but friends and advisers are always welcome! I think that this is not only our problem. The world is one for us and we must be thinking all together …..