Vahter, T. and Kaimre, P. 2009. Method for Evaluation of Moose Damage in Cultivated Pine Forests of Estonia.   Baltic Forestry, 15 (2): 262-267

In 2006, the Estonian Private Foresters Union made a statement expressing concern about damage caused by moose (Alces alces) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), which hinder reforestation and other silvicultural investments. Forest owners believe that a financial compensation mechanism for the ungulate damages should be implemented. The aim of the study was to create, test and specify a new ungulate damage assessment and evaluation methodology which could be used in compensation procedure. The methodologies from some neighbouring countries were studied to take advantage of their experience. The main differences of a proposed ungulate damage assessment methodology from prior methodologies are a simplified damage classification table and the opportunity to collect information about fresh and old damaged trees and stands. The field study was carried out in 18 pine stands of Aegviidu state forest district. The variability of ungulate damage on the test area ranged from the highest number of 5,200 trees per hectare to the smallest number of 150 trees; there were 150 and 3,150 healthy trees on the same sample plots, respectively. Financial loss depends on the number of damaged trees and the age of the damaged stand. Average loss per hectare was 99 EUR (1,556 EEK) in the case of fresh ungulate damage and 293 EUR (4,584 EEK) per hectare where fresh and old damage were summarized. Damage class classification tables were compared with Latvian, Lithuanian, and Finnish damage classification tables. There was strong correlation between the results (Pearson correlation was higher than 0.9); the strongest one was between Latvian and Estonian damage classification tables, r = 0.99, respectively. The estimated damage according to Finnish and Lithuanian damage classification tables was significantly (p<0.05) smaller than those of Estonian and Latvian damage classification tables indicated.

Key words: moose, ungulate damage evaluation, financial value of damage, Estonia