Which use is correct in sentences such as:

Estonia's state forests are managed....

The importance and role of Estonia's forests in cultural history.

Estonia's forest area increased significantly in the last decade.

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  • I assume from the title of your question that you are asking whether you can or should replace "Estonia's" in the above sentences with "Estonian". Am I right or do you have some other question? The question is unclear if that is what you are asking. – BoldBen Mar 14 at 9:21
  • Yes. That is correct which wording is better in these sentences – OrangeSunflower Mar 14 at 9:39
  • As a comment, I'd rather say 'national forest'. 'State forest' may sound ambiguous, especially to an American speaker. – alexsms Mar 14 at 11:11
  • Possible duplicate of Do things use apostrophe for indicating possessive? – Rusty Core Mar 14 at 16:44

Personally, I'd prefer Estonia's. Estonia's forests = forests of Estonia. More examples like that:

Estonia’s government has collapsed... (from theguardian.com)

Estonia’s general election; Estonia’s capital, Tallinn (from washingtonpost.com)

Estonia's technology cluster (from economist.com)

Technically, "Estonian forests" is also correct because "Estonian" means "belonging to or relating to Estonia, its people, or its language" (Cambridge Dictionary), and there are numerous articles which use the phrase "Estonian forest/forests."

As long as Estonian is an adjective, we can use it to talk about the kind of forest. But practically speaking, both Estonian forest and Estonia's forest mean the same thing.

  • I'd prefer Estonia's too. Techinically, I think it's possible to imagine a situation when a very rich person buys a large piece of land in Estonia, in which case it becomes an Estonian forest owned and managed by a private person (so technically it's not an Estonia's forest anymore). This person could be an Estonian, Chinese, Lithuanian, etc. So Estonia's clearly implies that it belongs to Estonia and its people. – alexsms Mar 14 at 11:20
  • I would also tend to use the posessive "Estonia's" in most cases. Of the three examples in the question I would be most likely to use 'Estonian' in the second one giving "The ... use of Estoian forests in cultural history" because this is the one in which ownership is of the least significance. It could be argued that, since forests existed in what is now Estonia before Estonia existed as a country, they were important in the development of Estonian culture before there was an Estonia to own them. They can still be called Estonian forests because Estonia defines the area in where they grow. – BoldBen Mar 14 at 14:08

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