Implementation, integration into decision-making

In 2018, a preliminary spatial and juridical analysis of Estonian green infrastructure as it has been implemented so far in the county-wide spatial plans and comprehensive plans according to the Planning Act, was conducted in the course of the project ELME. The step-by-step guidelines for planners for enhancing green network and taking into account the multifunctional nature of ecosystem services in the course of updating the comprehensive plans (over 60 under way in Estonia after the administrative reform) were completed.


The results of ELME terrestrial MAES project completed in the end of 2020 have intrigued a lot of stakeholders of various fields, but especially those dealing with spatial planning and biodiversity issues. Some of the examples include the following.


According to the suggestion of the union of Estonian environmental associations, ELME’s layers are being used in the spatial planning exercise of choosing areas for wind farms in a way not harming biodiversity values. The derivatives of ELME’s layers are also used in other projects, e.g., in Interreg project IRENES (Integrating RENewable energy and Ecosystem Services in environmental and energy policies, 2019–2023).


The maps of ELME project have been used to analyze the multifunctionality of the green infrastructure as it has been designated in Estonian county- and local government-level spatial plans helping to reveal the interruptions and conflicts in the network and, vice versa, identify areas rich in important ecosystem services outside the network that should possibly be part of it.


The ELME maps have also been used by nature conservationists and local communities to provide evidence of the ecosystem values other than commercially valued goods that have not been mapped before.  


The ELME national MAES results are also providing material for further research for scientists, are usable as an input in conservation management plans of habitats or protected areas, for zonation of protected areas, in new ecosystem services related agri-environment schemes, etc.


Training of stakeholders (planners, local municipalities, EIA experts, etc.) and further introduction of MAES results and deliverables are foreseen for 2021–2022. Feedback about necessary update and justification of MAES preliminary results will be part of the MAES process.


Networking and stakeholder involvement


The national scale MAES-related initiatives (national MAES project ELME, the EUROSTAT accounting projects, marine spatial planning process, etc) are carried through in synergy with all other relevant actions linking the respective results and derivatives, incl. developed methodologies, (web) planning and information dissemination tools, data layers, maps and tables with valuations, guidelines, etc.) to be comprehensively integrated into decision-making processes (environmental impact assessment, strategic environmental assessment, spatial planning, development plans of different sectors, national accounting, etc).


Creating one whole national functional system from different MAES and accounting actions is an ongoing process at the state level. A core (voluntary) working group facilitating ecosystem services related works has been formed in Estonia. The governmental leaders of the national MAES works are the Estonian Environment Agency and the Ministry of the Environment, accounting-related topics are led by Statistics Estonia. Representatives from Environmental Board, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Rural Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Agricultural Research Centre, etc, are also regular participants in the round tables.


Scientific expertise has been actively included in all of the nation-wide projects – scientists from all of the largest universities – University of Tartu, Estonian University of Life Sciences, University of Tallinn, Tallinn University, Tallinn University of Technology – have been involved.


Various events (seminars, workshops, trainings, round tables, etc) have been conducted in recent years and are foreseen in the near future to actively engage different specific or wider range of stakeholder groups. E.g., representatives from more than 50 institutions (incl. ministries and other governmental institutions, regional administration officials, scientific organizations, non-governmental environmental as well as business organizations and associations) were invited to the public seminar introducing the results of national MAES of the ELME project in October 2020.




Last modifided: 30.09.2021