Preservation of state forests near Haapsalu to continue  30.10

Haapsalu City Council decided to waive the ban on clear cutting on state forest located on landscape that is valuable to the City of Haapsalu. The 10 year forest management plan, completed in cooperation between RMK and the City Council, ensures the preservation of forests for future generations.

In spring  Haapsalu City Council decided to ban clear cutting on forest located on landscape that is valuable to the City of Haapsalu. The decision was disputed by forest owners whom had not been councelled beforehand.

According to Haapsalu City Council Chairman Jaanus Karilaid, the City Council reached a new decision, since it was evident that forest owners and RMK is interested in practical cooperation and willing to treat the city as an equal partner, also listening to the city’s proposals. According to Karilaid, it is important to the city that the forest is correctly and justly managed.

According to RMK Chief Forester Andres Sepp, cooperation with Haapsalu City Council was meaningful and positive. ‘As a result of the discussions, we reached a result and understanding that was satisfactory to both parties, that the clear cutting ban in forests located on landscape that is valuable to the city does not ensure the renewal and preservation of the forests for future generations,’ said Sepp.  

RMK will manage a total of 429 hectares of forest land located on landscape that has been designated as valuable in the City of Haapsalu’s comprehensive plan, with various types of cutting taking place on 73 hectares therein over the next 10 years for the purposes of step-by-step forest renewal, in accordance with the forest management plan that was approved at the City Council meeting. During that period an additional 72 hectares of forest in the area will reach maturity.

According to Andres Sepp, when the plan was being prepared it was taken into account that the forests near Haapsalu would be viable, of different ages, diverse and healthy not only today, but also in a decade and even 100 years from now. ‘To ensure that each future generation is able to enjoy young, middle-aged or mature forests and utilise the benefits accompanying these forests, the age distribution of forests must be harmonised and they must also be renewed,’ explained Sepp.  

In the majority of cases forest is renewed through the use of small 1-2 hectare sized lots that are fitted into the landscape and, based on natural conditions, with either shelterwood cutting or clear cutting.  

‘In places where it is possible to use shelterwood cutting, we do so. Although, in the case of Haapsalu, it should be kept in mind that the forests surrounding it are found on fertile soils, where it is possible to grow a deciduous forest in the shadow of an old growth forest, but not the pine groves that are characteristic of the area, which means that there is no alternative to clear cutting in many areas,’ said Sepp.  

RMK manages forests in a manner that ensures forest renewal takes place with the same species of trees and diverse use remains possible in the future. The cuttings planned in the vicinity of Haapsalu will match the landscape and clear cutting will not extend over developed forest trails and roads. Groups of old crop trees will be left in cutting areas and the adjoining area will not be cut until the old area has been renewed. A new forest will be planted within two years.  

In the Paralepa Forest Park shelterwood compartment cutting will be used to renew the forest, which means that the forest will be cut in several places over a longer period of time. The soil there is not very fertile and the cutting of minor groups is therefore possible. Cutting is planned for 2023 and 2028, on a total of 15.8 hectares.  

The Paralepa and Valgevälja forests are growing on fertile soil, where shelterwood cutting cannot be used to renew the forest to an equivalent degree – young pines required light and space to grow, something that a fast growing deciduous forest on fertile soil does not offer. The most effective approach for the renewal of such areas under the conditions prevalent in Estonia is through clear cutting, by which favourable conditions are created for the growing of plants. Cutting is set to take place in Paralepa Forest in 2023 and 2028 on a total of 31.2 hectares, and in Valgevälja Forest in 2021, 2026 and 2030 on a total of 25.7 hectares.  

Pullapää Forest is growing on alvars, where forest renewal is a very long-term process, which is why there is no cutting planned for the period 2020–2030.

Of the 429 hectares of state forest located within the vicinity of the City of Haapsalu, 6% is located within the strictest nature conservation protected zone, where no forest management takes place. A total of 4% is forest which RMK has decided to exclude from management. A total of 16% is located in a nature conservation limited management zone, in which forest management is permitted while taking into consideration the valid restrictions in the protected area. A total of 74% are managed forests, where growing and renewal of the forest takes place while taking into consideration the law and restrictions arising from the sustainable forest management certificate.  

RMK, or the State Forest Management Centre, is responsible for taking care of nearly 30% of the total land area of Estonia, on which 47% of Estonia’s forests are located. RMK is the keeper, protector and manager of the forest and other natural biotic communities belonging to the Estonian state. RMK cultivates forests, preserves ecological assets, earns income for the state by managing the forest, creates opportunities for visiting nature, and provides nature education.  

Further information:
Andres Sepp
Chief Forester 
+372 5055 932