Estonian state forest management celebrated its 100th anniversary 14.11

On 13 November 2018, 100 years will have passed since the birth of the Estonian state forestry system. In that time, Estonia’s forested area has doubled in size, with the country having reached the ranks of the most forest-rich countries in Europe. In celebration of the anniversary, RMK Sagadi Forest Centre is hosting the exhibition 100 Steps in the Forest.

‘Estonian state forest management has always relied on knowledge and educated foresters, which is the case today,’ said RMK Chairman Aigar Kallas at the opening of the exhibition. ‘We have a forest, proper tools and knowledge on how to use them. We know how to preserve and grow the forest, and the only thing we need is for the next 100 years to provide us with stable public order – we will then be able to ensure that all of the benefits of the forest today will be available in an even greater volume.’

Estonian state forest management began on 13 November 1918, when the Estonian provincial forestry department and the Tallinn forest inspection ceased to operate.

Wood became an increasingly important material for industry in the newly independent Estonia, and sustainable forest management became a priority. Arable land and clear cut areas were planted, with local people and schools often included in the process. In 1939, the amount of forested area had increased from 20% to 34% and reached 51% by the time of the restoration of Estonia’s independence.

‘The current level of forested area is such that an increase is unnecessary. Greater effort must be put into forest management works, and when planting new forests to replace cut forests, thought must be given to the biodiversity of the forests and how to fight climate change,’ said Kallas.

The creation of nature conservation and recreation opportunities in forests assumed a position of importance alongside forest renewal, which has also always served as a driver of state forest management. We have reached a satisfactory level today in terms of recreation opportunities in the state forest, while nature conservation, above all, the restoration of spoiled natural biotic communities, is something we must continue to work at. Goals have already been set here, and in the coming years they will be achieved,’ said Kallas.

In celebration of the anniversary, the exhibition 100 Steps in the Forest will be opened at the RMK Sagadi Forest Centre, which is a tribute and thank you to all those people who, through the last 100 years, have contributed to the development of forestry, and a bow before Estonia’s forest. The exhibition presents an overview of the most important trends and events that have taken place in forestry over the past 100 years, brings together valuable photos, newsreels and stories about the forest, and presents iconic tools and symbols for examination.

The exhibition is open daily from 10-16, on the first floor of the Sagadi manor house.