Biodiversity protection and land use

Biodiversity (biological diversity) is a common good, which needs to be carefully preserved. The protection and sustainable use of ecosystems and species contribute to reducing environmental pressure and natural disasters. Healthy and coherent ecosystems also mitigate the effects of global warming. 

One of the global sustainable development goals is to reduce the degradation of natural habitats and halt the loss of biodiversity.

Statistics Estonia publishes the following information on biodiversity, its protection and land use:

  • ecosystem extent;
  • nature protection and relevant expenditures;
  • land surface area by land use in climate reports.

The statistics can be used to plan nature conservation and biodiversity development, develop a support system and implement landscape and habitat diversity conservation measures.

Ecosystem accounting provides information on the extent of ecosystems, their land owners, condition and services provided. The accounting system is divided into three main sections: ecosystem extent account, ecosystem condition account and ecosytem services account.

The ecosystem extent account shows the area of Estonian ecosystems by main ecosystem classes and at a more detailed level. The extent account shows the distribution of ecosystems by land owner type and economic activity. See the tables and the prototype of web visualisations (2019).

More detailed information on the applied methodology is provided in the methodological reports of 2020 , 2021 and 2023

The ecosystem accounts development was carried out in 2019–2023 and co-financed by Eurostat (831254 — 2018-EE-ECOSYSTEMS, 881542 — 2019-EE-ECOSYSTEMS, 101022852 — 2020-EE-ENVACC). The reports describe the development of the methodology for ecosystem condition and ecosystem services (in physical and monetary units) in addition to ecosystem extent account. The supply and use tables for ecosystem services show the flows of a number of important ecosystem services, that are used by the economy or society, broken down by ecosystems that provide the services and service users.

The recording of the methodological seminar, held in June 2023, is available here. The recording of the methodological seminar, held in June 2021, is available here.

The statistics of compiled ecosystem accounts are experimental, in development and therefore the methods can change in the course of time. The output of experimental statistics may diverge from the traditional requirements of official statistics such as harmonisation, coverage, comparability (geographical and over time) and tried and tested methodology.


Share of protected areas in Estonian terrestrial territory 19.8 %
Share of habitat types of European Union interest in at least favourable status 57.0 %
Share of protected forests in total forest land 18.4 %
Ecosystem extent by ownership category and ecosystem type | 2021
Land surface area by land use in climate reports | 2015 – 2021
Unit: thousand hectares
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Forest land 2,447 2,447 2,447 2,447 2,447 2,447 2,447
Cropland 974 975 976 977 977 977 977
Grassland 289 286 284 281 279 278 277
Unmanaged wetlands 400 400 399 399 399 398 398
Managed wetlands (peatland) 34 35 35 35 36 36 36
Settlements 346 347 349 351 352 354 355
Other land 44 44 44 44 44 44 44
Total 4,534 4,534 4,534 4,534 4,534 4,534 4,534


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