A new pulp mill is planned in Tartu, Estonia, the second largest city in the country. The mill will produce 700,000 tonnes of pulp and it will consume around a quarter of the total country’s timber production. This increase threatens to be the fatal stroke for Estonian forests, which are already being exhausted by the increasing rate of commercial logging. The concerns are not only for forest, biodiversity and carbon storage, but also the pollution to the Emajõgi River. Environmental organisations, citizens and scientists raised their concerns about the mill which would impact dramatically on the environment, and support the City Council of Tartu which has demanded unanimously to scrap the project.

Last week at an international meeting in Elbiku, Estonia, forest experts from 25 different NGOs coming from Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania, signed a statement in support of the Estonian civil society.

Joint statement by forest experts about the need to stop Irresponsible Development of Est-For Pulp Mill

Elbiku, Estonia
25 April 2018

We call on the Estonian government to stop the environmentally and socially dangerous Est-For mill project. We are particularly concerned that:

  • The mill would consume around 3.3 million cubic metres of wood, more than a quarter of the total national timber production, yet Estonian forests are already exploited beyond their capacity for natural regeneration.
  • The mill would consume 1.2% of the Emajõgi river flow and then release this as effluent.
  • The citizens of Tartu and their representatives have clearly stated they do not want a mill of this size due to the impact on their region.

We are dismayed to discover that the Estonian government has turned a deaf ear to the plea from the City Council of Tartu and its citizens to stop the planning process.

Estonian forests have a priceless value for the country’s citizens, for biodiversity and for the global climate. They deserve to be protected from intensive extraction of wood for paper, timber and biomass.

Protecting the Estonian forests would be the best way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Estonia’s independence and democratic governance.

This statement is issued by forest experts from 25 NGOs from Europe, Africa, America, Indonesia, China, Nepal, India, Australia and New Zealand.