Storm damage to state forest proves heavier than initially thought 30.08

Compared to the preliminary assessment provided on 10 August, the extent of the damage caused by the storm that ravaged Estonia’s state forest has proven to be about three times greater. Approximately 670 hectares of forest requires clear cutting due to its condition – an estimated volume of 150 000 cubic metres of timber – and heavy-duty sanitary cuttingwill have to be carried out on 1500 hectares (35 000 cubic metres). Due to the situation, RMK will raise the sanitary cutting allowance afforded to private persons.

“In general, the extent of storm damage is indeed likelier to be estimated downward,” Tiit Timberg, Member of RMK’s Management Board, explained. “The picture is clearing up gradually, and there continue to be ravaged patches of forest discovered that where initially missed. In addition, the raging winds on Sunday, 8 August, were followed by a tempestuous 15 August, which added to the extent of the storm, primarily in the southeast of Estonia. Further damage also became apparent in the forests spanning the border of Jõgeva and Lääne-Viru Counties.”

RMK’s sad ranking of forests is firmly topped by Lääne-Viru County, where 430 hectares of forest was heavily damaged by the storm. The same figure is 58 hectares for Võru County, 57 for Jõgeva County and 46 for Tartu County.

Scheduled clear cutting in the said Counties has been suspended, and RMK’s contractors have been re-routed to work in areas damaged by the storm. Additional harvesters and haulage equipment have also been brought in from Järva County, which was virtually unaffected by the storm. In Lääne-Viru County, effectively 10-12 chippers are in operation round the clock.

Logging operations, Tiit Timberg insists, are highly hazardous operations requiring proper training and experience. “Cutting trees severely ravaged by the storm, bent taught and tipping over is in turn work many times more complicated and hazardous than regular cutting,” he insisted. Since the stormy summer of 2001, this work has been done in the State forest with chippers exclusively.

At the same time, there are areas in the State forest in need of sanitary cutting that are smaller in scale and less hazardous. According to Timberg, it is expedient to sell these to local residents for cutting. “In the course of sanitary cutting, residents can, for instance, procure firewood, and we have been selling rights to this through our forest districts continuously,” he said. “Due to the current situation, we are planning to increase the volume of sales for sanitary cutting; more detailed information on this will be provided by local forest districts.”

RMK is a profit-making state agency established under the Forestry Act, aimed at sustainable and efficient management of the state forest. RMK grows reforestation materials, organises forestry works, is engaged in the sale of forest and timber and organises game upkeep. In addition, RMK establishes opportunities for hiking in nature and forest recreation on recreational areas, in Estonia’s five national parks and 40 other protected areas, and shapes awareness of nature. RMK manages 38% of Estonia’s forests.

Further information:
Tiit Timberg
Member, Management Board, RMK
Tel 504 5761