On 15 July 2019, Valga Puu, a member of Graanul Invest Group, and the Estonian University of Life Sciences signed a 10-year cooperation agreement, pursuant to which Valga Puu will support the research project on the selection and management of hardwood man-made stands.
The working group led by Hardi Tullus, professor of forest management and forest ecology at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, has been experimenting with fast-growing hardwood trees in Estonian climate and soil conditions for years. As a result of the research, forest scientists can offer long-term test results in the cultivation of silver birch, hybrid aspen and black alder.
“We are helping to select fast-growing trees that are compatible with our climate and the soil of the region,” Professor Hardi Tullus explained the essence of the research project. Over the years, the working group has published more than 30 scientific articles in international scientific journals and led research projects dealing specifically with the production, ecological aspects, carbon sequestration capacity and economics of fast-growing hardwood plantations established on low-value farmlands.
“I am delighted that a dignified forest company is showing keen interest in the research being conducted at the university and is also prepared to contribute to it,” Tullus commented on the cooperation with Valga Puu.
The forest management company Valga Puu with 20 years of experience is hoping to implement the scientific results of the research group in its activity in order to establish disease-resistant forest plantations with good trunk properties in southern Estonia. The company has land units that comprise abandoned fields, which are not currently well-implemented, but which are hoped to be taken into suitable use through the research work of the research group on fast-growing hardwood trees. The long-term goal of Valga Puu is the afforestation of lands not used for agricultural purposes with suitable tree species.
“In addition to forestry goals, cooperation with the University of Land Sciences helps to prevent mistakes, because correcting errors in forestry takes a very long time,” explained Andres Olesk, Director of Valga Puu. Olesk is of the opinion that plantation forestry has a place in Estonia, too, in the future. “Nearly half of the global wood used for industrial purposes comes from planted forests, and this is the only real alternative in a situation where the share of protected forests is increasing.”
The first stage of the cooperation agreement between the Estonian University of Life Sciences and Valga Puu is entered into for four years, and the volume of it is 60,000 euros. According to the previously concluded protocol of good intentions, researchers will continue measurements in the established woods and develop long-term management recommendations for the establishment of new test areas. The total volume of the cooperation will amount to more than 100,000 euros.
From the left: Reimo Lutter, Andres Olesk, Mait Klaassen, Hardi Tullus