The share of forest in Estonia is remarkable, about half of the country is forested in total 2,3 million hectares. Estonian forests feature the characteristics of Scandinavian forests with dominance of pine (32%), spruce (19%) and birch (30%) by area. Forestry among the timber and wood industry contributes over 6% to the Estonian GDP.
In year 1991 the Estonian state decided to launch the land restitution process, aiming to give back the land to private hands and restore the properties as they were 1918. By the end of 2015 approximately 1,1 M/ha which is 47% of the total forest surface are owned by family or private forest owners (physical and legal entities), altogether approx. 113 000 people. The average holding size is about 10,0 ha making forestry business a difficult venture.
Total area 2,3 M ha = 51,0% of the mainland area
Under protection 0,57 M ha = 24,6% of which strictly protected 0,3 M ha = 13,2%
Annual increment (2018): 16,3 mil m3/year
Annual fellings (2018): 12,5 M m3/year
Growing stock in total (2017): 486 M m3
Average volume per hectare (2015): 225 m3
Estonian Private Forest Union
The Estonian Private Forest Union (EPFU) was established as an organization by the most active forest owners in 1992. It is an umbrella organization for local forest owner associations and altogether 20 local associations are members, representing about 1/3 of Estonian private forest land. EPFU represents the interest of private forest owners, participates actively in forest policy and in the legislative process and guarantees that private forest owners need and rights are taken into account. Being a member of various EU and worldwide forest organizations in the interest of Estonian private forestry and keeping contact with similar to EPFU organizations, EPFU is engaged actively in international co-operation. Local forest owner associations have been set up to unite individual forest owners on a county or community level. Local associations provide members with advice and trainings and organize and provide services for joint silvicultural actions.