Natural and energy resources PDF Prindi

Natural and energy resources

  • Forests and timber
  • Peat
  • Energy resources
  • Wind energy

  • The major mineral resources of Saaremaa County are dolomite, limestone, curative mud, peat and mineral water. Fish are the most important sea resource. Gravel, sand and ceramic clay are also of local importance.

    Saaremaa has very good preconditions for developing a recreation industry. Forests, juniper groves, coastal areas, curative mud and the sea make up a vast recreation complex, the utilisation of which has only been started. There are extensive reserves of curative mud all over the county. 

    The juniper groves covering about 9,000 ha are unique. The total resource of juniper timber and berries enables the development of a specific production for the medical, pharmaceutical, alcohol and foodstuffs industries. 

    The bodies of water in the county are suitable for and have good preconditions for the development of crayfish breeding.

    Another potential investment sector is the hunting industry. The number and diversity of species of game in our forests give good grounds for the development of hunting tourism to meet modern requirements.

    There are also a sufficient number of production complexes in a good state of repair that are no longer in use for agricultural production. It would be possible to install different technologies in these buildings and there is an obvious need for new technologies and equipment.

    Forests and timber

    53% of the territory of the county is covered with ligneous vegetation. The area of groves is 131 thousand hectares and the timber resources make up about 15 million m³. The yearly increase in timber resource is 410 thousand m³. Considering restrictions, the annual felling volume is 250 thousand m³. That is the basis of the timber industry in Saaremaa County. It also shows the need for further development of the industry.

    The majority of the timber is exported to Finland and Sweden as pulpwood. The resource of firewood together with felling residuals makes about 150 thousand m³ a year. The actual felling volume has during the recent years have been 30-35 thousand m³. Pine and birch prevail in our forests, 59.1% and 23.2% respectively. Oak and ash make up 7.7% of the groves.

    The forest infrastructure (access roads, quartering up and drainage systems) has been developed to a good level that makes the forests easily accessible.

    The existing timber industry meets the needs of the county for round and sawn timber. Proceeding from the timber resource, 2-3 modern sawmills could process the felled timber instead of the 25 saw frames operating today. About 70% of the timber industry residuals are not utilised today so, there is a potential for growth here as well.

    Extensive swamp and bog areas are located in the middle of Saaremaa. There are 32 swamps in the county with an area exceeding 10 ha. Three peat deposits are in industrial operation today. The area of industrial layers is 6,173 ha, of which the active reserve, suitable for heating is 8.4 million tons. Proceeding from the principles of sustainable development, the extractable amount is identified as 20 thousand tons per annum, of which heating peat makes up about 15% per annum.

    Energy resources
    The production of primary energy is based on fossil fuels, imported into the county. Oil products, solid fuels (exc. timber and peat) and liquid gas are imported. With regard to secon-dary energy sources, electricity is imported, thermal energy is produced locally on the basis of heavy oil for heating (imported) as well as coal, peat and wood chips. The tendency is to reduce the amount of imported fuels. The average volume of fuels consumed in businesses have been as following: petrol 2,900 t, diesel - 11,000 t, heavy oil for heating - 17,000 t, briquetted peat - 3,000 t, coal 8,000 t.

    Wind energy
    Wind as a resource is characteristic of the county due to its island location. Only a part of the resource can be utilised. Until today, the resource has not been utilised in the county, as the investment costs are high. As losses from transporting energy to the county are considerable, a part of the required energy should be produced locally.



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