Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Estonia is the smallest (45,227 km2) and the northernmost of the Baltic States, located on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The main types of ecosystems are forests, mires, grasslands, inland waters, and coastal and marine habitats. The total number of species is estimated at 35,000 to 45,000, but only 24,000 species have been recorded to date. There are 1,500 species of vascular plants, 525 species of moss (Bryophyta), 2,500 species of macrofungi, 1,500 species of microfungi, 337 species of macrolichens, 450 species of microlihcens, 3,000 species of algae, approximately 12,000 species of invertebrates and only 355 vertebrate species. The main trends in land-use dynamics are: a decrease in the proportion of agricultural land, especially semi-natural grasslands (from 65% in 1918 to 30% in 1994) and an increase in the proportion of forests (from 21 to 51%, respectively). The main threats to habitats are related to changes in land use and management systems, including drainage and peat extraction for wetlands, and over-fishing and pollution for marine habitats.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
The extent of protected areas increased from 11% to 16% of the country’s territory following the selection and protection of the proposed Natura 2000 sites. The new areas have significantly contributed to the protection of raised bogs, calcareous grasslands, wooded and coastal meadows, old natural mixed forests, natural broadleaved deciduous forests, lakes, rivers, and marine habitats.
Percentage of Forest Cover
The forest cover of Estonia is 51% and includes 71 distinct forest types.