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HD Forest Estonia 20th Anniversary Conference

On the 21 September 2018, HD Forest Estonia celebrated its Anniversary by organising a forestry conference - “Modern Forest Practices in Different Countries. Estonian Forestry IT Innovation”. There were about 150 participants from Estonia. First part of the conference concentrated on best practices in different countries: Denmark, France, USA and Brazil. The presentations gave us a good idea about investments, history, best practices etc. Second part was a panel discussion where Estonian Forestry IT developer discussed the future innovation in forestry.

Some highlights from the conference:


  • In France, a remarkable proportion of the wood is used for making wooden barrels for wine.
  • Forest investments in France are increasing, influenced by the fact that taxes in France are lower when you own forest land. On the other hand, significant influence is coming also from recreational interests. In France, a private forest owner can limit access to his forest area. A landowner in France can charge money for the access to his forest. 
  • 75% of woodland areas in France are owned by private owners. The average private forest area is 4 ha. 2/3 are smaller than 1 ha. Public forest area constitutes 3.9 million ha and privately owned forest constitutes 12 million ha.
  • One of the main characteristics of French forest is the land fragmentation, mainly due to the Napoleonic Code.


  • Forest cover in Denmark in 1805 was less than 5% and of very bad quality. Now the coverage is 13% and in general good conditions.
  • 75% of Danish forests are in quadratic practice. 5% natural forest, 10% uneven-aged managed, 9% even-aged natural regeneration, 68% even-aged planted.



  • In Brazil, currently there is approximately 7.8 million ha of timbered plantations (5.7 million ha of planted eucalyptus and 1.6 million ha of pine and 0.5 million ha of other species.
  • The vast majority of all timberland plantations are owned by integrated forest product companies. The eucalyptus plantations market share has increased from 65.4% to 72.3% (2005 to 2016). 


  • In the USA, private forest owners have the rights to decide what he or she wants to do with their forest land. Most limits on felling relate to water quality, wetlands, weight limits on trucks.
  • The total land area in the USA is 931 million ha and out of these 264 million ha are forest land. Most planting is with native species.
  • Private persons own 87% of the forest land area in the USA.
Panel discussion

Panel discussion

Various forest IT developers from Estonia, one person from the Estonian Land Board and one person from the Estonian Environment Agency.

A quite important issue in forestry is the cutting capacity. How big it is and is the data accurate etc.? IT developers asked the question: do we actually need to know, how much timber was harvested yesterday?

There were discussions about drones, LIDAR, co-operation between state, landowners, universities and forest companies. One of the main conclusions was that there would not be any big jumps in software technologies in the near future. All big improvements are coming in small steps. Focus is on automatisation, less manual input. 

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