TALLINN - Illegal logging in Estonia's forests in 2005, which was estimated to have reached 27,000 solid cubic meters, dropped 4.5 times compared with 2003, the Ministry of Environment announced last week. Unlawful logging amounted to 122,000 solid cubic meters in 2003 and to 92,000 solid cubic meters in 2004. The number of cases of illegal logging has dropped several times too 's from 689 in 2003 to 544 in 2004 and to 136 in 2005, the ministry said.
Erik Kosenkranius, head of the forestry department at the ministry, said the improvement was attributable to better laws and more efficient supervision on the part of the Environment Inspectorate. He said better awareness of forest owners, often the result of efforts by consultants and forest-owners' organizations, also played a role.
The World Wildlife Fund described illegal logging as a relatively small problem in Estonia, with the country sharing seventh place with France in terms of illegal logging in a table of 23 European countries.
The situation is better still in Britain, Holland, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and Latvia. The countries with the most illegal tree-felling problems are Poland and Ireland.
The Ministry of Environment says an average of 10 million solid cubic meters in has been logged annual in Estonia over the past five years.