RMK: we need larger and more versatile benefits from forests 25.11
According to Mati Polli, Chairman of the RMK Supervisory Board, RMK needs to ensure through intelligent activities that there would be forest for future generations to enjoy and that our nature would be protected. “At the same time, the forests need active management – the maintenance of young growth, cutting mature forests at the right time, and planting new trees where the forest has been cut,” said Polli. “RMK has managed the virgin state forest well, but taking into use new state lands that have not been reformed yet and even better planning of forestry works will make it possible to raise the productivity of the state forests.” If today, the state forest reserve is 164 million m3 and the annual timber increment is 4.2 million m3, then by 2020 the annual timber regrowth in the state forest would be 4.7 million m3.
According to Polli, the higher productivity of the forest land will make it possible to increase the cutting volume, which in turn will add to the State Treasury, provide raw material for the local timber industry, and jobs for tens of thousands of people living in Estonia. In 2013, 3.4 million m3 of timber was collected and sold from the state forest and, according to the new development plan, in six years the annual timber sales volume could be 4 million m3. “Timber will continue to grow in greater volumes than it is cut, but the revenue from selling timber is increasing,” assured Polli. In 2013 RMK earned a profit of 35.7 million euros before VAT with a turnover of 155 million euros, and in six years the revenue figure is expected to grow to 45 million euros per year.
As for nature conservation, in the following six years RMK is planning to restore 10,000 hectares of habitats that are endangered or in an unfavourable situation. According to Aigar Kallas, Chairman of the RMK Management Board, this means proactive steps and creating the preconditions necessary to make sure that the situation of endangered plants, animals and birds would improve. “Mainly, proactive intervention is needed in case of semi-natural biotic communities, marshlands and open dune and heath biotic communities,” added Kallas, who said that they are hoping to use the resources of the European Union structural funds for the nature conservation works. Allocations are also made from the science fund of RMK for individual species, currently for example for improving the condition of the habitats of the wood grouse.
The number of visitors to RMK’s nature reserves and recreational areas needs to rise from today’s 1.7 million to 2.5 million within a period of six years. According to Aigar Kallas, this mainly presumes that the infrastructure created for the guests is in good condition and objects are interlinked with each other, but also sparking greater interest in the five national parks of Estonia, developing the two new branches of the long hiking trail passing through Estonia, and supporting teacher training which can drastically increase the number of people benefiting from RMK’s nature education programmes.
Almost half of Estonia is covered by forest, out of which 40% is under the management of RMK. RMK earns a profit for the state through forest management, growing reforestation material, and organising forest and nature protection works. In addition, RMK establishes opportunities for nature walking in recreational and protected areas and shapes nature awareness. RMK consists of the Sagadi Forest Centre, Elistvere Animal Park, Tartu Tree Nursery, 70% of Estonian-Finnish joint company AS Eesti Metsataim and the Põlula Fish Farm. More than 700 people work for RMK.
Further information:Aigar Kallas
Chairman of the Management Board of RMK
Tel: 528 1299