Nearly 6,000 forest areas will be rechecked for felling

Following the Constitutional Court's judgment declaring the felling of younger trees unconstitutional, the State Forest Service (VMD) will individually assess the possible revocation of the felling certificate in 5,874 forest stands, the Ministry of Agriculture (ZM) said on April 17.

In the summer of 2022, the first government of Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) supported changes to the rules on felling trees proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture, essentially allowing younger forests to be felled.

In early April of this year, the Constitutional Court declared these changes unconstitutional and ordered that they be annulled.

According to the ZM, the felling certificates have not lost their validity with the Constitutional Court's judgment.

"This is stipulated both in the judgment and follows from the Law on Administrative Procedure: the annulment of the Cabinet of Ministers' regulations does not annul the felling certificates issued on their basis - they remain valid until their execution or expiry.

"Felling certificates will become invalid only when the VMD adopts a decision on cancellation of the certificate in accordance with the felling rules," the ZM said.

"If a forest owner has a felling certificate, it is considered a favorable administrative act on which the forest owner can rely and cut down what was planned so far. Therefore, timber harvested before the certificate is revoked is considered legally harvested timber. However, in order to prevent this from continuing for another three years, the Constitutional Court ordered the cancellation of the certificates where the diameter of the trees is smaller than that previously established before the rules were repealed."

The MoEW will assess each case individually and there is no plan to revoke the certificates on one specific date.

The forest owner will be notified of each certificate to be revoked. Information on canceled certificates will also be available in the public register of certificates issued on the VMD website.

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