Permission to Close Forest Rec Areas Denied, New Nature Reserve Created ({{commentsTotal}})

The common spotted orchid.
The common spotted orchid. Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

In nature conservation news, the Cabinet created a new nature reserve in Valga County, while the Environment Board put the foot in the way of the State Forest Management Center trying to unload less popular recreational assets.

The nature reserve is called Riidaja and includes around 13 hectares of state land, said the Environment Ministry today.

It provides protection to two types of Natura habitat - mature broad-leaved nemoral forests and Fennoscandian herb-rich spruce forests. Both of these northern European habitats have been becoming scarcer, and these ones are largely untouched and consisting of 100-year and older timber.

Three endangered plant species - broad-leaved helleborine, common spotted orchid and neckera moss - are found there as well.

Meanwhile the State Forest Management Center was denied permission this week to close 60 recreational nature areas, 40 of which it said had low visitor numbers.

Some of the bog areas tend to be heavy on wooden infrastructure such as boardwalks. While the plan to stop maintaining the areas would not affect popular areas (such as, say, Viru bog east of Tallinn) not all of the decaying boardwalks in less popular areas could be maintained, said the agency.

But the director general of the Environmental Board, Leelo Kukk, said the sole criterion for closure could be lack of importance to the surrounding area. It gave permission for nine to be closed pending further information.