Europa 2011 - Forests
Estonia is extremely rich in forests – nearly half the territory of the country is covered with forests. Estonian forests belong to the mixed forests zone and the most widespread forest type is where evergreen conifers dominate, but there are also deciduous forests. Dozens of domestic species of trees and shrubs grow in the forests, the most common tree being the pine, followed by the birch and the spruce. The biggest forests in the country lie in the north eastern and central parts of Estonia. There are primeval virgin forests, sustainably managed forests as well as specially developed holiday forests. Estonia’s rich forests are home to numerous animals – it is quite common to meet rabbits, foxes or roe deer, and the biggest animal is the elk. The forests are home also for a number of species on the verge of extinction, such as the European mink, the dormouse and the flying squirrel. The forestry sector is an important pillar of the economy, timber being the most important renewable natural resource and wood processing a considerable source of livelihood. Today forests are called the green gold, but in olden days forests were considered a sacred place and the people worshipped sylvan spirits.