24 million plants to be planted in state forests this year 12.04
RMK has begun work on planting a new forest on 12,000 hectares of land, 400 hectares of which comprises low-value grasslands and shrubberies that did not previously house a forest."Planting a forest on 400 hectares of land that was not previously home to a forest will play an important role in subduing climate change, as in the span of 70 years it will neutralise the carbon dioxide generated by 50,000 cars in a single year. A grassland or a shrubbery couldn't neutralise this amount of carbon dioxide," said Head of RMK Forestry Department Toomas Väät.
This year, a record 24 million saplings will be planted in state forests. Last year, this number was 23 million. All saplings have been grown in RMK plant management departments. 11 million pines, 10.3 million firs, 2.4 million birches and 190,000 alders will be planted. RMK will invest a record amount into the planting and raising of new forests – 20.3 million euros.
Väät explained that RMK has grown its operations from one planting machine to three and increased the preparation of land for planting by applying turf. "Our planting machines will be working throughout the entire vegetation period all over Estonia and plant a million saplings from April to October. In order to revitalise rougher areas, we will be applying turf and planting hardy fir and pine trees, which have been shown to produce good results in terms of forest growth. This way, we can expedite the growth of new forests and cut down on costs." The additional planting machines and large-scale turfing increased the need for potted fir saplings. Until now, the number of potted fir saplings planted in state forests had remained at around 700,000 a year; however, this year will see 2.7 million potted fir trees planted.
RMK will continue with planting throughout autumn when a million open-rooted fir trees will be planted in state forests, in addition to a small number of pine trees for the sake of innovation.
Most renewable land, 9500 hectares of it, will be filled with plants. 2200 hectares of land will be allocated for natural renewal; this is 20% of all land with the potential for renewal through the planting of appropriate tree species. After analysing forest growth, RMK decided to forgo helping natural renewal processes by adding minerals to the soil.
Most of RMK's plants will have to be planted manually, creating work for 1700 new employees during the planting season. This workforce already exists – one-third of the employees are RMK's loggers and the rest are contractual partners found through public procurements, of whom there are over 120.
RMK continues to contribute to the quality and protection of their plants through sand and sheep fat and towards the maintenance of growing forests. The plantation and maintenance of saplings is more important than their sheer number. In 2020, RMK assessed 10,583 hectares of land to have completed its renewal process. A renewed forest has more than 1000 firs or 1500 pines growing per hectare with heights of at least half a metre or a forest of at least 1500 deciduous trees per hectare that are at least one-metre tall. "The number of trees planted is only one of several indicators. More important than that is the effectiveness of the renewed land five years after it has been deforested. The average renewal time of an RMK clearing is 4.6 years," said Toomas Väät.
Special requirements for employees will be enforced during plantation season to stop the spread of the virus. Communal forest planting days will not be held this year.
Head of RMK Forestry Department
Head of RMK Communications Department