What’s inside the Estonian forest?

When driving the Estonian countryside, you can see plenty of beautiful fields and meadows. In addition to them, the country has extensive forest resources. Forests cover over 51% of the Estonian total area. The large forests enable a sustainable log supply for the growing wood processing industry.

There is plenty of information in the Forest Yearbook, published by the Estonian Environment Agency https://www.keskkonnaagentuur.ee/sites/default/files/01_metsavarud.pdf.

The 3 main wood species are pine, spruce and birch. The standing stock volume in commercial forests is divided by pine (33,6%), spruce (19,9%) and birch (26,9%). The rest is divided by aspen, alder and other species. 

Source: Estonian Environment Agency, NFI 2017

The share of birch forests has grown 

Of the 3 main wood species, birch is the only one which share has been growing since 1960. The statistics from the Estonian Environment Agency show, that from year 1958 to 2017, the birch standwise inventory has been growing from 19 to 26 per cent. During the same period the shares of pine and spruce have decreased.

Plenty of mature Birch trees

In 2017, 42% of the birch forest were older than 50 years. Over 50 years old birch trees are ready for harvesting. This means that there is a large standing inventory of birch logs for the plywood and veneer industry. The age division is stable, and there is a growing stock for each decade to come. The average age of birch forests has been steadily growing during every decade from 1950s, being 47 years in 2017. 

Source: Estonian Environment Agency, NFI 2017

There are birch forest throughout the country, but their share is the highest in the Jõgeva and Tartu counties. These are the only counties where the share of birch forest are above 40% of the total forest area. Tartu has 45,2% of birch forests and Jõgeva 43,1%. 

Jõgeva County.

Estonian Plywood AS is located in the middle of the Jõgeva county which is the neighbor for Tartu county. 

In terms of birch log supply, the future looks bright for the Estonian wood processing industries.

© by Randel, ESTPLY.

Randel Veerits is the managing director of Estonian Plywood AS. He has been leading production and operations in different industries along his path to plywood. He is passionate about team energy, and works hard to connect it to his other favourite, mathematics.

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