Piles of logged wood from a felled forest in Estonia. Photo: Karl Adami.

The environmental NGO Estonian Forest Aid is critical against the forest company Stora Enso’s forest logging in Estonia.  In a letter, they urge Stora Enso to shift to contemporary forest management practices in accordance to biodiversity and climate goals which also show consideration to birds’ nesting season and local people. After being in contact with Stora Enso, its Estonian subsidiary has responded that the company is open for a dialogue regarding a specific case of Märjamaa forest-park. 

Read Estonian Forest Aid’s letter on Stora Enso’s destructive forestry here:

Recently, Stora Enso Oy has demostranted some rather dubious practices in Estonia. Namely, forest management schemes deployed by Stora Enso make the company an investment choice that is as far from sustainable and responsable as could be.

We are concerned about forests in Estonia. The way Stora Enso is doing business in this country is destroying our forests, wildlife and local communities. Estonia is a much poorer country than Sweden or Finland and the export of huge quantities of timber is often the easiest business for many here, albeit very doubtful in the ethical and environmental aspects.

Forests are vital to combating climate change. They help regulate the Earth’s climate by drawing carbon from the atmosphere. They store nearly 300 billion tonnes of carbon in their leaves, branches and other living parts. If we do not end forest destruction, we have no chance of avoiding climate breakdown and the extinction crisis.

But it doesn’t look like companies have noticed we are in a climate emergency. They are carrying on with business as usual, and like to promote their own ‘green’ image to improve their brand. Loss of biodiversity is just as catastrophic as climate change.

Estonian legislative acts, including the Forestry Act allow practically endless clearing of forests. What is more, the EU environmental legislation is not really being enforced in Estonia.

We urge Stora Enso Estonian subsidiary to shift to contemporary forest management practices in accordance with the FSC (FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests), Århus convention, climate and biodiversity goals. (Comment from Protect the Forest; The FSC has large flaws in Sweden).

For example, Stora Enso is pretending to include local people in Märjamaa, Estonia about the forest cutting next to people’s homes and singing field (important place for local public events). Märjamaa is my childhood home and my parents still live there. The forest is an important barrier against noise, pollution and dust of big Tallinn-Pärnu road. Local and other Estonian people have signed a petition to stop the plan.

Right now, countless birds are nesting. The environmental NGO’s in Estonia find that there shoud be the peace for birds in forests till the end of August. Otherwise, the birds’ offspring will die. The same can happen for young animals. Scientists warn that birds are diminishing: according to Aveliina Helm, Senior Research Fellow in Botany at University of Tartu, “57 000 – 111 000 pairs will vanish every year in Estonia”.

And now Stora Enso is planning to start clearing the forest on 16 June 2020.

We are extremely concerned about the practice of timber industry including Stora Enso in Estonia who puts profits before people, destroying our living and natural environment and local communities. We thus urge you to help to stop the ongoing destruction of Estonian forests by the Estonian subsidiary of Stora Enso.

With hope,
Riina Georg and Aivar Georg, members of non-profit environmental organisations “Estonian Forest Aid” and “Roheline Pärnumaa”, Estonia,                      Tiina Georg, Member of Board, Estonian Forest Aid, Estonia
Tiiu-Liia Knaps, resident of Märjamaa, Estonia,
Udo Knaps, resident of Märjamaa, Estonia

Extinction Rebellion protester in the forest-park Märjamaa. Photo: Mari Laanesaar.

The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) lives in woodland areas in Estonia, such as decidious and mixed forests as well as coniferous forests. Photo: Karl Adami.