RMK billed hunting associations for damage caused by game to the state forest  02.02

On 31 January, RMK submitted an invoice to 12 hunting associations for damage caused by game to the state forest last year. Invoices were submitted for damage caused to 39 hectares of forest, where RMK must plant new trees in the spring.

According to Kalev Männiste, Head of the RMK Hunting Management Department, significant damage caused by game has decreased by a fifth in 2016 from the year before, but areas that need regeneration have increased.

A year ago, nine hunting associations compensated RMK for damage caused by game to the state forest, the claim amounted to EUR 5400 and forest cultures were planted or supplemented on 15 hectares. The works on 39 hectares planned for this year will cost EUR 30,200. Of this amount, hunting associations must compensate EUR 28,300, because they cover some of the cost with their own work. “In comparison with before, this year’s works will be more expensive because of growth in the proportion of reforestation, instead of supplementation of existing forest cultures, as was the case last year,” explained Männiste.

The main damage in Estonian forests is traditionally caused by elk, which eat newly-planted forest stands, but can also damage young stands and pole stands. “The biggest damages were suffered by aspen stands, accounting for 49% of damage in terms of surface,” said Kalev Männiste. “This was followed by pine stands, at 40%, whereas in the case of aspen stands, damage mainly concerns pole stands, while in the pine stands it is newly-planted trees.”

Among counties, Männiste said that the most significant damages were recorded in the forests in Tartu County, Ida-Viru County and Põlva County, accounting for 42% of all significant damage caused by game. Hunters are compensating RMK for damage caused by game in the state forest for the second year running; a respective agreement was concluded after the Hunting Act entered into force in 2013. In total, RMK has arrangements for the use of state land for hunting with 325 hunting area users.

In 2016, damage was caused by game to the state forest on 536 hectares; a year earlier, significant damage was caused by game to forest cultures, young growth and pole stands on 654 hectares. Hunters are billed for damage caused by game if the damaged area must be reforested or supplemented and the damage has been clearly caused during the validity of the contract signed with RMK. Before the report on the assessment of damages, the Environmental Board prepares an expert study on forest protection.

RMK is the keeper, protector and manager of the forest and other natural biotic communities belonging to the Republic of Estonia. RMK earns a profit for the state through forest management, growing reforestation material, and organising forest and nature conservation works. In addition, RMK establishes opportunities for nature walking in recreational and protected areas and fosters nature awareness. RMK consists of the Sagadi Forest Centre, the Elistvere Animal Park, the Põlula Fish Farm, and the Tartu Tree Nursery. More than 700 people work for RMK; however, the total number of people employed in the state forest is 5000.

Further information:
Kalev Männiste
Head of RMK Hunting Management Department
Tel: 513 9642
e-post kalev.manniste@rmk.ee