Twenty-one million homegrown forest plants are being planted in the state forest  08.04

Planting season is set to begin this week in the state forest. This year the State Forest Management Centre will be planting a total of 21 million trees – 10.4 million pines, 8.4 million spruces, 2.05 million birches and 150,000 common alders.

According to Toomas Väät, Head of the RMK Silviculture Division, RMK is contributing more and more to the quality, protection and care of plants. “By contributing to the greater resistance of plants, it is possible to renew a larger area with a smaller number of plants. In order to keep pine weevils at bay, which pose a threat to young trees, a record 4.5 million plants that are protected with natural bio wax and glue will be planted this year. This autumn, as protection against cloven hoofed animals, young plants on a total of 2500 hectares will again be sprayed with a natural repellent. These protective measures allow for a total of 3200 pines to be planted on a single hectare instead of 3500, and 1800 spruces instead of 2000.”

The spring forest planting period is a very stressful time; each day, on average, a new generation of forest is planted on an area the size of 180 football pitches. More than 1700 people receive seasonal work in RMK’s nurseries and forests during this hectic period. The entire required labour force was found this year for the first time through a public procurement, during the course of which a total of 180 contracts were concluded with companies for forest planting in the state forest.  

Since the plants planted in the spring have begun to grow well, thanks to the sufficiently humid and cooler weather, and autumn planting will help to spread out the spring planting load, one million spruces will also be planted during the planting period this year.  

The largest number of plants – 3.3 million – will be planted in Ida-Viru County, followed by Pärnu County, with 2 million, and Lääne-Viru, with 1.9 million.  

Plans for this year also include the supplementing of last year’s planting areas in relation to last year’s extraordinarily dry spring and summer, as well as the regional damage caused by pine weevils. A total of 2500 hectares require supplementation, for which 2.5 million plants will be used.  

In total, RMK is renewing approx. 11,700 hectares of forests this year, with planting taking place on 8050 hectares, sowing on 300 hectares and natural renewal being helped along through the mineralisation of soil on 1600 hectares. A total of 1800 hectares of suitable growing sites for deciduous trees will be left to natural renewal.  

The plan is also to continue with machine planting, during the course of which ground preparation as well as planting take place with a single move – at first, a suitable mound for planting is prepared using the special bucket attached to the excavator’s boom, and with the same movement the planter head is used to place a plant with a closed-root system on the mound. All available silviculture methods are utilised with the tree planting machine, as previously cold stored plants with a closed root system are also being planted during the summer period.

While plants are typically transported to the cutting site via off-road vehicle, tractor or ATV, in the case of difficult to reach places RMK has been delivering trees via helicopter for several consecutive years. The plants required for renewing the state forest are grown by RMK in eight nurseries across Estonia.  

A record 9768 hectares of forest were considered to have been renewed in 2018. Each year, RMK fells 1 per cent of the forest on state forest land that has reached maturity, and all clear cut areas are renewed. A cutting area that has been clear cut will renew itself in approximately 5 years, where one hectare will have 1000 spruces that are 0.5 metres in height as well as 1500 pine trees or 1500 deciduous trees at 1 metre in height.  

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 natural treasures, earns income for the state by managing the forest, creates opportunities for visiting nature, and provides nature education.