International Forestry Students’ Symposium (IFSS) in Saaremaa

This year Estonia hosted the annual International Forestry Students’ Symposium (IFSS) from 28 of July to 11 of August, bringing to Estonia students from 40 countries across the world, starting from South African Republic, Costa Rica, South-Korea and Australia and ending with students from all over Europe. In two weeks in Estonia, they had the opportunity to visit the best foresty companies, see beautiful nature and local culture, all this gave them opportunity to get to know Estonia better.

IFFS is the most important event of the year, during it different meetings and discussions are held to improve and support the growth of the organization. On the penultimate day of the symposium, August 10, the event was hosted by the golden sponsor of the event, Tornator Eesti OÜ, on two of their properties in Saaremaa. Near Kärla, the company showed how they handled a situation near a popular recreational area, opening communication with the local community and the trail manager. The company decided to give up half of the expected profit and instead of using final felling they started to manage the forest as continuous cover forest. Students also could see young stands of pine and spruce in good condition and discuss how to successfully regenerate conifer stands.

In the next stop students could observe brush cleaning in one of Tornators spruce stands, and explained that even if spruce trees are planted, its quite common due to browsing damage and natural disturbance that not all trees will survive and they will be replaced by deciduous trees, which is why monocultures are not possible Estonian forest.

After visit to the forest, students were taken to the Sõrve Visitor Centre were Tornator organized a workshop were students could express their opinion of Estonian forestry sector, what they were impressed by and what could be improved and what is/could be Estonia’s place in worlds forestry. Highlights were the major steps taken by the Estonian forestry sector towards digitalization, and it was emphasized that future forestry must consider and adapt to climate change, including Estonia.

After the workshop, the participants had the opportunity, at the expense of the company, to walk along the sea and climb on the top of the Sõrve lighthouse and admire the view.