Many of us watch Estonian Nature Webcams already since years and understand the importance of a well working ecosystem, so please read and maybe you want to sign this petition, too.
Article on Looduskalender main page - in Estonian language only
Translation of the petition to English language made with Google translator
Petition to save Estonian Forests
To the Government of the Republic of Estonia, the Riigikogu, the President. `
Forests have ecological, economic, social and cultural value for human beings, and there must be a balance between the use of these benefits. There is currently no such balance. Today, the forest is mainly a production resource for the timber industry, as if it were a source of liquid wealth. Balanced forestry is a constant reproduction of ecological, cultural, economic and social values.
We demand that the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the deputies of the Riigikogu, both in the coalition and in the opposition, prepare legislation for the immediate transition to balanced forestry.
The problems caused by unsustainable forest management cannot be left to our children and grandchildren. We cannot go down in history as a generation that consciously bequeaths uninhabitable land to their descendants. Well-functioning, species-rich and stable ecosystems are important not only for cultural or nature conservation reasons, but above all because they are associated with the natural benefits that we, humans, need to live. Our daily well-being, although not yet realized, depends on the viability and integrity of the climate, soil, water systems and biodiversity. The loss of biodiversity as a result of unreasonably large deforestation will ultimately affect freshwater availability, food production as well as cultural and national defense aspects.
The first steps in the transition to balanced forestry are:
- 1. Reducing logging volumes to sustainable levels
In order to compensate for years of over-felling, the permitted felling volume must be reduced to less than 8 million cubic meters per year, preferably to 4-6 million cubic meters.
The aim must be to produce more valuable and innovative durable products that allow for selective and less cutting.
Continuing felling at the current pace, the state's currently available forests will be depleted in about ten years. As a result, large-scale felling is already taking place in protected areas and restricted zones. Protected areas must be legally protected and not allow the use of different JOKK schemes. Protected areas protection rules must not allow clear-cutting in restricted zones. This is the case for both private and public forests. The critical stock of a forest as a renewable natural resource must be identified and maintained in accordance with the Sustainable Development Act.
- 2. Forest management should be environmentally friendly
In Estonian forestry policy, timber production is based on forest machines that are too heavy for the soil and extensive clear-cutting areas. Due to the increasingly warmer winters, unfrozen soils and alternating drought-rainy-stormy summers further increase the negative effects of already unsuitable economic practices. A sustainable host would not destroy the forest soil and the offspring inherent in the habitat, but would save the undergrowth and take care of both visible and invisible biota in its forest.
Lease payments for combine harvesters must not guide national forest policy - on the contrary, we expect comprehensive support from the state to find new innovative forest management methods.
- 3. Logging peace in both public and private forests
In all Estonian forests, both public and private, the three-month spring-summer peace period is the minimum that must be allowed to start a new life cycle for the wildlife around us. Almost everywhere it is allowed to carry out maintenance and lighting felling with heavy equipment and felling to improve the condition of the forest. Extensive clear-cutting could also be carried out in the spring of 2020 as part of the action against spruce bark beetles. According to scientists, the number of wild birds has decreased by as much as a quarter in recent decades.
Birds are very good indicators for assessing the state of the environment, as changes in ecosystems are quickly reflected in their numbers. They give us feedback on how we have dealt with our common living environment in recent decades.
- 4. The future of Estonian forestry management - from the State Forest Management Center to the State Forest Protection Center
Taking into account the efforts being made all over the world to protect the climate and biodiversity, including the European Union's Green Agreement and the above-mentioned goals, Estonia's current forest management system must also be changed. The narrow objective of wood as a raw material must be abandoned and broad-based forestry restored, openly and truly inclusive with all stakeholders, flexible and innovative in creating wood added value and allowing business based on forest by-products and other ecological services, always carefully considering the potential spatial or impact on the natural environment.
At a time when the sixth mass extinction of species has accelerated in the world, the renewed RMK must be an institution based on the protection of the living environment instead of management - RMK 2.0 or the State Forest Protection Center.
In order to achieve this goal, a thorough reform is needed, starting with changing the composition of the Supervisory Board of RMK, so that the representatives of the four main values of the forest - ecological, cultural, economic and social - would be equally represented there.
- 5. The forest is part of the identity of Estonia and Estonians
With this petition and cluster statement on 16 August, we want to make the voices of people in need of community forests close to home, who understand the importance of old natural forests, valuable habitats and green corridors, and all biodiversity, in creating and sustaining our own well-being. We give the floor to people who respect ancient shrines, feel the healing power of the forest or draw strength from its aesthetics. We give the floor to people who respect forest gifts and enrich their family's table with them.
The cultural, social and ecological values of forests cannot be measured in money, because we do not pay for services that are an integral part of our lives. The forest is part of the identity of Estonia and Estonians. By destroying the forest, we also destroy ourselves. It is time to change attitudes, it is time to start a new era of restoring biodiversity and species richness and sustainable forest management.