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The President of the Republic met with Forestry Council

President Rüütel today met with the Estonian Forestry Council. Atop the meeting's agenda were the council’s previous work and new proposals to promote the development of Estonian forestry.

As the first problem, the Forestry Council put forward the Estonian tax system, which furthered maximum forest cutting rather than sustainable forestry management. The council suggested that not only our tax law but also several other laws be amended in order to make them further the sustainable forestry. The President of the Republic backed this idea and stressed the need to value the work of the forest owners engaged in environmentally appropriate management of forests and reforestation.

The President of the Republic touched also upon the problem of illegal logging. According to the Chairman of the Forestry Council, Andres Onemar, the amount of illegal logging had lessened year after year and our Environmental Inspectorate had begun to work more effectively, but to solve this problem, still more resources were to be earmarked. President Rüütel expressed the opinion that setting up a system of neighbourhood watch, supported by the state, could help combat the illegal logging.

As one further problem, the Forestry Council put forward the need to improve the management of private forests and transport of firewood. The President agreed with the council’s opinion that if the Government in the next years would not introduce systemic measures to reorganise energy and heating management, then not only pulpwood but also all the wood suitable for biofuel would be exported from Estonia. President Rüütel expressed an opinion that we should follow the example of many other countries and process wood in Estonia up to the grade fit for end-use market.

The Forestry Council and the President of the Republic shared the view that state aid to private forestry would contribute significantly to the complex development of forestry and rural life.

In addition, the meeting came to the conclusion that the potential of forestry science having long-lived traditions in Estonia should be enhanced.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 9, 2003

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