Estonia has nominated the King’s Pine, a 380-year-old tree, for the 2022 European Tree of the Year competition; the public voting is open until 28 February.
Currently about 380 years old, the King’s Pine is known to be the largest tree in Estonia in terms of volume – the volume of the trunk is 13 cubic meters.
“There are larger trees in Estonia in terms of height and thickness, but the true value of the King’s Pine is in relation to forestry, as knowledge has been shared around it for 100 years,” Hendrik Relve, an Estonian environmentalist who has studied many indigenous trees, said in a statement.
The tree with a rich history is in Järvselja Primeval Forest, Tartu County – the oldest forest protection area in Estonia, established in 1924. Since then, no felling or harvesting of dead trees has taken place here. The Järvselja nature trail, that passes by the King’s Pine, gives an idea what a real primordial forest looks like in Estonian conditions.
The Järvselja Forest is also an important research area for the students of the Estonian University of Life Sciences and the University of Tartu.
The aim of the European Tree of the Year competition is to draw attention to trees that are symbolic in their local communities and have a role to play as a community unifier and cultural heritage bearer. Each participating country will select its candidate and the winner will be chosen by the public via an online vote.
Estonia has participated in the competition three times and in 2015, the country’s nomination – an old oak tree in Orissaare, Saaremaa – won.
The Estonian participation is organised by Loodushoiu Fond (the Nature Conservation Foundation), in cooperation with Hendrik Relve and the arborist Heiki Hanso. The purpose of the foundation is to contribute to the development of voluntary conservation in Estonia.
Cover: The King’s Pine in Estonia. Photo by Jarek Jõepera.