RMK has not deforested any key habitats: number of key habitats has more than doubled in last decade 16.02
RMK’s response to the Estonian Fund for Nature ELF’s press statement: ‘Report: 5700 hectares of unmapped key habitats have been deforested in the past decade’“We discovered the ELF’s analysis of unmapped key habitats only today via the media that published the ELF’s press statement and have therefore not had the time to verify their claims concerning the potential but unverified key habitats found on the aforementioned 5700 hectares,” says Head of the Forest Survey Management Division at RMK Veiko Eltermann. “What I can verify, however, is that RMK has not deforested any key habitat and will never do so going forward. On the contrary, in the last ten years, the area of key habitats located in unmanaged state-owned forests has grown 2.5 times in size.”
As of 31 December 2010, the area of strictly protected forests on land managed by RMK was 136,672 hectares, including 10,950 hectares of key habitats, then as of 15 February 2021, the area of strictly protected forests has grown to 317,217 hectares. The area of government woods where logging is forbidden has more than doubled in size in the past ten years, i.e. by 180,590 hectares. The area of key habitats has grown approximately 2.5 times in size in the past ten years, with a growth of 15,146 hectares, meaning that today there are 26,096 hectares of key habitats in government-owned forests.
“Even if the 5700 hectares noted by the ELF’s analysis is factual, it is still a marginal area compared with that of the key habitats discovered and taken under the protection of nature conservation laws during the same period. All key habitats are important to us, which is why we can promise that RMK has not deforested any key habitat and will not do so in the future,” says Veiko Eltermann.
In the beginning of 2019, RMK voluntarily took under temporary protection 55,000 hectares of mature forests that made up around one-third of the area of mature forests that fit the criteria for re-logging. The purpose of taking these forests under temporary protection is to inventory them for key habitats. As of today, 28,613 hectares of woods have been inventoried, 3242 hectares of which has been registered in the registry of key habitats. All regular legal activities will continue in forests that have been inventoried and not chosen as key habitats. Forests that have not yet been inventoried are under temporary protection, meaning that no forest management is allowed on their territory until an inventory has been completed.
Head of the Forest Survey Management Division at RMK
Head of the Communications Department at RMK