Raul Kirjanen, CEO of Graanul Invest, was elected to the steering committee of the Forestry Development Plan as a commissioner of the Estonian Renewable Energy Association.
The steering committee of the Forestry Development Plan 2021-2030 consists of representatives of selected government agencies, scientists and stakeholders whose aim is to reach consensus on selecting forestry scenarios for a new decade. The fresh member of the steering committee, Raul Kirjanen says that finally, the time has arrived in the field of forestry to seek real solutions and make agreements that will ensure the development of the sector.
According to Kirjanen, the main problem of Estonian forestry is that a significant part of Estonian private forests are in a very poor condition: “Maintenance and renewal of forests should form the cornerstone of the Forestry Development Plan, so that we could reach the same growth and quality in the cultivation of timber as our neighbors.”
Kirjanen believes that the conditions for imposing environmental restrictions should be carefully discussed and agreed on during the negotiations of the Forestry Development Plan, and the restrictions should be reduced to the same level as in our neighboring countries. “Today, almost 30% of the forest is covered by different restrictions in Estonia, as compared to only 10% at our neighbors. Private forest owners should also be entitled to immediate and fair compensation for any restrictions, including the loss of the value of biological assets, if the correct renewal time is missed. When any forest land is taken out of economic use, the cost to the society must also be taken into account – including in case of RMK,” Kirjanen adds.
Kirjanen is convinced that biomass is the cornerstone of Estonian heat production. “Biomass production creates jobs in rural areas, brings income to forest owners, provides security of supply to the country, and balances the foreign trade balance. This is also the base of today’s renewable energy targets,” says Kirjanen.
“Organizing demonstrations and making meaningless noise will not help find solutions to our problems today or in the future. Therefore, I hope that the coalition government to be created will be able to manage the process of drafting the forestry development plan in a balanced way,” says Kirjanen. He is concerned that stakeholders involvement is notably unbalanced. If you look at what level the organizations of actual forest producers are represented and that of the organizations which represent the expectations for free benefits, then the situation is a bit worrying. At the same time, we hope that the competence of the Ministry of Environment in drafting the Forestry Development Plan will allow for balanced steering of the process, as well as will help find reasonable compromises while taking into account the economic and regional political realities.