TALLINN – Applications for subsidies related to Natura protected areas for a total of 5.043 million euros, 28,000 euros in excess of the budget of the current application round, were filed by private forest owners to the Estonian Private Forest Center (Erametsakeskus) in the latest application round.
Applicants numbered 4,955 and the total area for which subsidies were applied for is over 68,500 hectares. The biggest number of applications came from Saare County, with Voru and Harju counties in places two and three. The smallest numbers of applications were filed in Jogeva and East-Viru counties, the Estonian Private Forest Center said.
Maris Tonuri, the head of the unit for subsidies at the Estonian Private Forest Center, noted that the total area for which subsidies are sought is similar to last year, but the difference in the amount is due to the fact that there are more applications for compensation related to special management zones this year. The size of the subsidy is 60 euros per hectare for limited management zones and 110 euros for special management zones.
For the first time, it was possible for private forest owners to apply for support for loss of income resulting from nature conservation restrictions. The compensation rate is 60 euros per hectare. A total of 472,783 euros was claimed altogether for 7,880 hectares. The highest number of applications was received from East-Viru County and the lowest from Hiiumaa.
"This is a new type of subsidy. The first application round saw more than half of the eligible forest owners apply, which could be a good starting point for the remaining forest owners to also apply for support to compensate for the loss of income due to restrictions," Tonuri said. The next opportunity to apply is in April 2023.
The Private Forest Center will make decisions on the subsidies related to nature conservation restrictions by the beginning of December of this year at the latest and decisions on the Natura forest subsidy by March 2023 at the latest.
The Estonian Private Forest Center is a state-run foundation and sector-specific consulting and development center whose objectives are raising the competence of private forest owners and promoting environmentally friendly and effective private forestry. The principal tasks of the Estonian Private Forest Center include the administration of national and EU subsidies for private forest owners.