Estonia is the Amazon of the Nordic countries! Estonia has a very rich nature on account of its advantageous geographical position and landscapes that have been left relatively or completely untouched by human activity. The biodiversity and characteristical traits are influenced by the geological history, climate, soil and fauna difference between West- and East-Estonia.

Today´s nature conservation in Estonia has grown out of different initiatives and mostly it is started by one single devoted person. The birth of Estonian nature conservation is considered by the establishment of Vaika bird protected area in 1910.

Protected areas consist of 18% of Estonian territory (682 447 ha). There are 5 National Parks, 131 nature protected areas, 150 landscape protected areas and many other types of protected nature objects – alltogether 3 786.

Estonia has favourable geographical location, lot of nature with little human impacts (“wilderness”), high nature value lands shaped by long-term sustainable use of nature (seminatural pastures and meadows) and East-Atlantic migratory birds route. According to some estimates, up to 50 million water and coastal birds are attracted by the abundant Estonian coastal wetlands. Forest cover over one half of Estonia and about one fifth of Estonia is covered with marshes and bogs. Another important distinctive feature is that Estonia has more than 1 500 islands and that it has a long, indented and diverse coastline of 3,794 km.

Seminatural pastures and meadows are extremely diverse, rich in different species and therefore maintaining favourable conditions is crucial. To restore and maintain those landscapes, landowners and farmers are paid EU subsidies, which was started in 1996.

Keskkonnaamet, Environmental Board is the authority of protected areas. Visitor management is implemented by RMK, State Forest Management Centre.

For more information, please visit the Keskkonnaamet, Environmental Board website:

Protected Areas in Estonia

Soomaa National Park

Soomaa National Park is voted as area of European Tourist Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) in 2009 in Estonia. Soomaa National Park was created in 1993 to protect large raised bogs, flood plain grasslands, paludified forests and meandering rivers. The name of the national park explains well the natural valu ...

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Matsalu National Park

Matsalu National Park is situated in the western part of Estonia. A reserve was founded in 1957, mainly to protect nesting, moulting and migratory birds. Since 1976, Matsalu is included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.   Matsalu National Park protects the semi-natural grassl ...

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