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Diana Laarmann Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering September 2006 Tartu, Estonia I – introduction

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Personal case study

Diana Laarmann

Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering
September 2006
Tartu, Estonia

The protection of our versatile nature has long traditions as well. In the beginning of the new millennium there were over 350 protected areas in Estonia (covering approximately 11% of the land), over 1000 protected trees, stones and other natural monuments and almost 500 protected parks (figure 1). The number of protected species is 570. Today the protected areas covering approximately 16% of the land and this number will also increase in the future (figure 2) . In Estonia one can find over 300 bird species, approximately 75 fish species, 5 reptile species, 11 amphibian species and 65 mammal species. There are approximately 1450 vascular plant species, 550 moss plant species and 2500 algae species.

The primary function of protected areas is to conserve ecosystems and biodiversity. The objectives of national parks and provincial nature reserves also include protecting viable representative samples of different habitats, protecting rare species, and facilitating research to further our understanding of ecosystems and their functions. In the future, nature conservation will include more environmental education and will be more concerned with issues of social equity, such as access to the benefits of nature reserves for all Estonia and an improved quality of life for those who live in and near nature reserves. Nature conservation, once seen as separate from economic development, will increasingly be drawn into the reconstruction and development framework, with conservation authorities playing a developmental as well as a conservation role.

Figure 1. Estonian map with protected areas

In order:

national park, landscape protection area, nature protection area, unrenewed regulations protection area

The Act on Protected Natural Objects establishes the following categories of protected natural objects in situ:

- protected areas,

- natural and natural-historical monuments,

- species, fossils and minerals.

Protected areas fall into one of four types:

1) A national park is a protected area of special national importance for the conservation, protection, investigation, and promotion of awareness of the natural and cultural inheritance; it includes ecosystems, examples of biological diversity, landscapes, national culture, and is subject to sustainable nature management.

The National Parks of Estonia are the following:

Lahemaa National Park - for the conservation of nature and cultural landscapes typical of North Estonia;

Karula National Park - for the conservation of hilly landscapes rich in forests and lakes, typical of South Estonia;

Soomaa National Park - for the conservation of the largest bogs in Estonia and the floodplain meadows and forests in the south-western transitional part of Estonia;

Vilsandi National Park - for the conservation of West Estonian coastal landscapes and sea, as well as islets rich in birds.

Figure 2. Protected areas in Estonia

2) A nature reserve is an area protected for its nature conservation or scientific value set aside for the conservation, protection, and investigation of natural processes and endangered or protected plant, animal and fungus species and their habitats, inanimate objects, as well as landscapes and natural monuments.

3) A protected landscape is an area of natural or cultural heritage value which is rare or typical for Estonia, and is established for nature conservation, cultural or recreational purposes. Parks, arboreta and botanical gardens which have been taken into protection are also considered protected landscapes. Management plans are developed to determine the level of tourism, forestry and agricultural exploitation, as well as industrial development and urban construction. The protected landscapes may include limited management zones and special protection zones. Landscape reserves are protected parts of the countryside which contribute to its beauty and variety, where nature and the landscape features receive more priority.

4) A programme area is managed under a local, national or international programme for monitoring, investigation, or educational purposes as well as combining conservation and management of natural resources. The Biosphere Reserve and the Hydrological Reserve are considered as programme areas in Estonia.

All land and water area within a protected area is divided into zones, as specified in the Protection Rules. A strict nature reserve zone is an area of land or water in its natural state and free from the direct impact of human activity, where conservation of natural associations resulting only from natural processes is guaranteed.

A special management zone is a land or water area protected in order to preserve resulting or created natural and semi-natural associations (figure 3). A limited management zone is a part of protected area used for economic purposes where restrictions, established by the authority which has taken the object under protection, must be taken into account.

Figure 3. Zones of protected areas.

II - Case Enterprise

My case enterprise is State Nature Conservation Centre (SNCC) which is state-owned company. The enterprise`s main goal is to protect Estonian nature.

Short history

In 2003, the Ministry of Environment started an administrative reform because there was a need to rearrange the administration of preserves to find the best solution for administration. In conjunction with different constituencies and Ministry of Environment, purposes and the team of the project were conceived. In 2005 the team of the project made a suggestion for the minister of environment to create a self-sufficient state organization to manage all preserves and the manager of this organization comes directly under the jurisdiction of the minister of environment.

State Nature Conservation Centre was established on the 1st of January 2006, engaging all preserves with administration, preserves which were administered by local environmental administrations, objects of protection of species, natural preserves and single items of conservancy.

SNCC is locating in Tallinn, Estonia and it has 8 regional departments:

  1. Harju-Rapla region;

  2. Lääne-Viru-Järva region;

  3. Ida-Viru region;

  4. Tartu-Jõgeva region;

  5. Võru-Valga-Põlva region;

  6. Pärnu-Viljandi region;

  7. Lääne-Hiiu region;

  8. Saare region.

Legal form of enterprise

state-owned company

Persons engaged in managing the enterprise (chief executive managers)

  • Jaanus Tuusti – Chairman of the Management Board;

  • Andres Sutt - director of Harju-Rapla region;

  • Kaja Lotman – director of Lääne-Hiiu region;

  • Tõnu Talvi – director of Saare region;

  • Enn Vilbaste – director of Pärnu-Viljandi region;

  • Ants Manglus – director of Võru-Valga-Põlva region;

  • Toomas Võime – director of Tartu-Jõgeva region;

  • Kaili Viilma – director of Ida-Viru region;

  • Arvi Põldaas – director of Lääne-Viru-Järva region.


environmental protection, biodiversity conversation, education, information


1,4 M ha

Avarage number of employees are 144

4 million Euro

State Nature Conservation Centre is a new organization that will manage all the protected areas in Estonia. This enterprise is innovation by itsself. According to innovation distribution it is organizational innovation. Organizational innovation involves the creation or alteration of business structures , practices, and models, and may therefore include process, marketing and business model innovation. Organizational innovation is a part of process innnovation.


Products Processes

Goods Services Technological Organizational

The problems

In Estonia there were 15 County Enviromental Departments (department of governmental institution), 5 National Parks and 11 protected areas with administration (separate state institutions). It means 31 departments, institutions, 31 different communications, 31 different service standards, 31 different concepts, 31 different budgets etc. And 31 partners in inside communications.

The main reasons for innovation:

- Nature conservations objects which are situating side by side have different administrators;

- 2-3 different administrators for some objects;

- Illogicalness in logistics;

- There is no possibility to compare finances for works needed in nature conservation objects;

- Partly employees in nature conservation are in public service, partly not;

- Protected areas are differently supplied with equipment and employees.
Analysis of the innovations

Results after innovation:

- Transparence of the system;

- One strong partner for Ministry of Environment (MoE) to implement governmental policy;

- Clear budgeting;

- Easy to manage;

- United manners and service standards;

- break up the executive authority and management activities for implementing the nature conservation goals.

Activities carried out by State Nature Conservation Centre:

- Elaboration of the policy of nature conservation

- Co-ordination of the preparation of protection rules

- National strategies and action plans

- Co-ordination of the permissions for genetically tranformed organisms

- Co-ordination of nature conservation programm’s of Environmental Investment Centre;

- International Conventions;

- Co-ordination of activities/plans which needs permission from Minister of Environment;

- International reports of Natura 2000 andcommunication

- Design, compose and publicity of the network of special conservation areas (protection rules)

- Marking of protected objects

- Ranges service about the fulfilling protection rules

- Preparation of management plans

- Evaluation of protection activities (monitoring)

- The co-ordination of scientific studies, improvment of data in environmental register

- Protection of species, restoration/management of landscape and habitats

- Communication with land owners (information, co-operation)

- Organisation of nature education, visiting and recreation

Activities carried out by environmental departments of Ministry of Environment in counties:

- Delivering permissions;

- Submission of terms of references for planning processes and co-ordination of development plans;

- Co-ordination the necessity of the environmental impact assessment;

- The purchase of land property or changing it to the outside of protected areas.
SNCC mission is to be natural and semi-natural and heritage-cultural values holder in Estonian protected areas and to be designer of environmental sparing attitudes at community.

For that purpose enterprise guarantees natural diversity preservation on defensible natural objects, introduces natural and heritage-cultural values for people and arranges natural stydies, guarantees possibilities for monitoring and research. SNCC wants to be open co-operative partner.

SNCC vision is to change or develop to well-operative, regardful, flexible and purposeful organization, which operates like network over Estonia, allows and evaluates pecularity of protected areas, acts on the basis of uniform rules and principles and enforcements of balanced function.
The main goal is to guarantee continuance of species, associations and landscapes and related heritage-culture which are typical of Estonia.
The supporting goals are:

  • Estonian society evaluates and preserves nature and heritage-culture;

  • Guaranteed sufficient survey for status of species, associations, landscapes and heritage-cultural values;

  • Increase of individual awareness from own role in ecosystem.

The main processes to perform the aim are planning of the protective system and activity, directing the usage of environment, implementation of the work of conservation, arrangement of the natural education and visiting the protected areas and evaluation of the efficiency of protective zones.

Planning of the protective system and acitivity:

  • designing the network of protected areas;

  • invite bids to take some areas under protect;

  • composition of the protective regulation;

  • participation on acitivity of development;

  • permitting researches on protective areas.

Directing the usage of environment:

  • delivery report of protective obligation;

  • accord permission and co-ordination;

  • announcing landowners and landusers;

  • buying and exchange of landed property.

Implementation of work of conservation:

  • labeling protective objects;

  • maintenance and restoration of habitation and landscape;

  • preserving of heritage-culture;

  • payment compensation;

  • supervisory.

Arrangement of the natural education and visiting the protected areas:

  • arranging different actions;

  • producing and distribution of different media vehicles;

  • organizing natural education;

  • establishing infrastructure;

  • maintenance and management of infrastructure;

  • arrangement of activity of centre of visitation.

Evaluation of the efficiency of protective zones:

  • monitoring the efficiency of directing the usage of environment;

  • monitoring the efficiency of the work of conservation;

  • observation socio-economical situation and attitudes;

  • evaluation of the efficiency of natural awareness.

Essential functions of support are human resource management, financial management, internal auditing, communication, IT, record management, real estate management and development, technical management, legal framework and database administration.

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