Estonia lies on the border area of maritime and coastal climate. Typical landscapes in Estonia are semi-natural communities, swamps, large areas of forests, rivers and small lakes. Estonia is located on the East-Atlantic flyway for the birds. One of the most important key sites for the birds of passage is Matsalu National Park.
There are Tree, Bird and Animal of the Year competitions in Estonia every year. The aim of this initiative is to introduce to the people the diversity of the Estonian nature, also contribute to species protection. This year snowball tree is the Tree of the Year, partridge is the Bird of the Year and wolf is the Animal of the Year. There were 31 clutches of wolves in Estonia in 2012. Nature hobbyists find here in Estonia interesting semi-natural communities, e.g. meadow lands, flood meadows, wooden meadows and alvars. The specificity of semi-natural communities regardless of economic activities is the diversity of plant species: in Lääne county, Laelatu wooded meadows 76 plant species per 1 m² were counted. Human impact is an important way to preserve semi-natural communities. The richness of species is guaranteed by the hay-making and pasturage. Since 2007, the area of semi-natural communities has increased due to the help of subsidies – in 2008 it was 17,700 hectares, in 2010 already 23,000 hectares, accounting for 0.5% of the territory of Estonia.
In 2012, the State Forest Management Centre constructed a 370-kilometrelong hiking trail which crosses Estonia from the north to the south. The hiking trail begins in Lahemaa National Park and ends on the Estonia-Latvia border at Ikla. The hiking trail goes through six counties, two national parks (Lahemaa and Soomaa National Park) and nine protected areas.
As of 2012, Estonia has 17 wetlands of international importance, whereby the most famous wetlands are Matsalu National Park, Lahemaa National Park and Soomaa National Park. It is remarkable that in Estonia large area s of bogs still do exist while in most European countries the bogs are on the wane. The areas of bogs (the largest one is Puhatu peat bog – 468 km²) account for slightly over 5.5% of the territory of Estonia and mires comprise most of this (about 70% of mires have been preserved in Estonia).
In the context of the International Year of Water Cooperation it should also be mentioned that in most of the Estonian areas groundwater is used for everyday consumption. Surface water is used only in Tallinn and Narva. Over the last decade the pollution caused by waste water has been reduced due to the renovation of old water treatment plants and construction of many new ones as well.