The conservation and protection of nature is as old as the human kind. The period of active state-level nature protection in Estonia is considered to be around 100 years old. Nature protection balances the activity of many economic sectors utilising natural resources and is one of the most significant guarantors of sustainable development for a state.
The tasks of the Estonian Environment Agency in the field of biodiversity is to collect, process and publish information about nature and nature protection in Estonia, fulfil the national and international reporting obligations and maintain nature protection databases. The information on nature and nature protection collected in databases are the foundation of the preservation of objects under protection, species and their habitats. This information serves as a basis for sectoral overviews and analyses and the fulfilment of international obligations.
The institutions under the domain of the Ministry of the Environment that are responsible for the field of nature protection work closely together and have rationally distributed their responsibilities. The Estonian Environment Agency collects and manages information regarding nature protection in the Estonian Nature Information System (EELIS), the website of which is www.eelis.ee. EELIS is used for keeping track of existing as well as planned natural features, alien species, subsidised areas, hunting areas, hunting trophies and the related legal acts and documents. We are developing the Nature Observations Database (LVA) and its public web application on http://loodus.keskkonnainfo.ee/lva/default.aspx?state=1;877954539;est;lvadb;;&lang=eng in cooperation with the Estonian Naturalists´ Society, the Estonian Society of Lepidopterologists and the University of Tartu. Every fourth year we prepare a regular overview of nature conservation in Estonia on the basis of the information we collect and manage, and we contribute to the preparation of other environmental overviews, both on a national and international level.
Additionally, we coordinate and manage the Biodiversity Clearing-House (BTV) available at http://www.keskkonnaagentuur.ee/et/e-teenused/eesti-riikliku-bioloogilise-mitmekesisuse-teabevorgustiku-koduleht as required by the Convention on Biological Diversity and we serve as the national focal point of the clearing-house. By serving as the reference centre of information on biodiversity and nature conservation for the European Environment Agency, we regularly forward data on official protected objects to the European Environment Information and Observation Network (EIONET) to be used by EU’s statistical office EUROSTAT as well as the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), an organisation maintaining the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). We also forward information to OECD and participate in OECD’s working party on biodiversity, water and ecosystems (WPBWE).