TALLINN - The area of strictly protected forests in Estonia totals 300,220 hectares, accounting for 29.9 percent of state-administrated forests, according to the State Forest Management Center (RMK).
According to data from January this year, RMK administrates a total area of 1,029,902 hectares of forests, 300,220 hectares, or 29.2 percent, of which is under strict protection. Economic constraints have been imposed on 73,419 hectares of forests, or 7.1 percent, and the area of commercial forest was 656,263 hectares, or 63.7 percent of the total forest area in Estonia, spokespeople for RMK told BNS on Wednesday.
Kristjan Tonisson, member of the board of RMK, said that both the total area of forests administrated by RMK as well as the share of strictly protected forests have grown over the past years.
"The area of strictly protected areas in the state forest has grown by 2.4-fold compared with 2007. RMK contributed to it too, by proposing to create new forest protection areas and tighten the protection regime on altogether more than 30,000 hectares of forests in 2017. The area of strictly protected forests has increased on average by 12,500 hectares per year for the past 14 years," Tonisson said.
Strictly protected RMK forests consist of strict nature reserves, conservation zones, key biotopes, and protected species habitats and potential key biotopes, such as those of the flying squirrel.
No forest management is carried out in strictly protected forests. In these areas RMK only conducts nature protection works to preserve protected species and restore their habitats.
Estonia places second in the European Union behind Finland in terms of the total area of strictly protected forests where no cutting is carried out.