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 characteristic traits are influenced by the geological history, climate, soil and fauna difference between Western and Eastern Estonia.
Today´s nature conservation in Estonia has grown out of different initiatives and mostly have been started by one single devoted person. The birth of Estonian nature conservation is considered to be the establishment of the Vaika bird protected area in 1910. Protected areas consist of 23 % of Estonian territory (19,4% mainland, 28% water). There are 6 national parks, 231 nature reserves, 154 landscape protection areas and many other types of protected nature objects (species’ protection sites, individual protected natural objects etc.) (data from 31.12.2019)
Estonia has a favourable geographical location, a lot of nature with little human impact (“wilderness”), high nature value lands shaped by long-term sustainable use of nature (seminatural pastures and meadows) and East-Atlantic migratory birds’ routes. 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 by 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 over 4,000 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.
The Environmental Board has set up a special website for nature lovers: kaitselad.ee. It is available in Estonian, English and Russian.