The system of Estonian nature conservation

In Estonia, nature conservation is organised by several agencies of the Ministry of the Environment


The Ministry of the Climate is responsible for organising environmental and nature conservation, performing tasks related to land and spatial databases, organising the use, protection, reproduction, and accounting of natural resources, ensuring radiation protection, performing tasks related to climate change mitigation, environmental monitoring, weather observations, organisation of nature and marine research, geological, cartographic and geodetic works, maintenance of the land cadastre, organisation of the use of external funds for environmental protection, and preparation of relevant strategic documents and draft legislation. The Nature Conservation Department of the Ministry of the Environment makes a special contribution to the preservation of wildlife.


The task of the Environmental Board is to implement the state’s policy on the use of the environment, nature conservation, and radiation safety, and to participate in the development and improvement of all kinds of environmental legislation and other official documents.


As of 1 January 2021, the Environmental Board also performs the function of a state supervisory authority, as the Environmental Inspectorate was merged with the Environmental Board [1]. The aim is to check compliance with the laws and regulations established for the protection of the natural environment. If necessary, means of state coercion are applied in the case of environmental offences – fines are imposed, precepts are issued, and the reimbursement of the damage caused to the environment is reclaimed. In addition to environmental misdemeanours, environmental crimes are also prosecuted.


The field of activity of the Environment Agency is the implementation of the national environmental monitoring programme, preparation of national and international environmental reports, assessment of the state of the environment, provision of vital services, including weather forecasting, and maintenance and updating of monitoring stations, tools, and equipment.


The task of the State Forest Management Centre is to organise practical nature conservation work on state land. Among other things, maintenance of individual protected natural objects and parks, opening of views, maintenance and restoration of communities, and species protection works are performed.


The responsibility of the foundation SA Erametsakeskus is to increase the competence of forest owners and to promote environmentally friendly and efficient private forestry. Among other tasks, SA Erametsakeskus organises the payment of Natura 2000 grants on private forest land [2].


The Environmental Investment Centre is the central financier of environmental projects. With the support of various funding sources, more than 20,000 environmental projects have been implemented, with total support of more than 2 billion euros. In addition, loans are granted for the implementation of environmental projects.



Last modified: 08.03.2024



[1] Vabariigi Valitsuse seaduse ja teiste seaduste muutmise seadus (Keskkonnaameti ja Keskkonnainspektsiooni ühendamine) 

[2] Natura 2000 toetus erametsamaale