Estonia warmly welcomes the ongoing efforts of Initiative Promote Pollinators in highlighting and addressing the disturbing status of pollinators and their habitats in the world. We hope to supplement and support these wide conservation efforts with our national contribution.
Activities supporting pollinators, ongoing or just finished in Estonia, can be summed up by the following thematic areas: habitat protection and restoration, assessment of the status, and improving public awareness about pollinators.
- Red list status of more than 13 000 species of different taxonomic groups in Estonia was conducted, 2017-2019, based on common IUCN methodology. This assessment covered the main pollinator groups like bumblebees, butterflies and moths. Most of the Bombus species revealed to be stable, majority of the assessed butterflies and moths species are in good status. However, further attention should be paid to the effect of landscape structure of agricultural land, preservation of well-managed semi-natural grasslands and use intensity of agrochemicals (fertilizers, pesticides).
- A huge effort in Estonia has been continuously put in preserving and restoring the semi-natural grasslands. These very species-rich communities are the most high-quality habitats for natural pollinators in Estonia. Agri-environmental measure (EAFRD) providing subsidies for stable extensive mowing and grazing of grasslands has underpinned the remarkable increase in the area of sustainably managed semi-natural grasslands: the area has more than doubled (from e.g. 15 000 ha in 2007 to 36 000 ha in 2019). Support from state budget or different EU funds (e.g. LIFE) for restoration of grasslands has played an important place in habitat restoration. This has happened due to successful cooperation and invested energy of administrative personnel, scientists, NGOs and farmers.
- An applied research project “Study of Estonian bee fauna”, 2018-2020 to improve knowledge about lesser known bee species and ten protected areas will bring new information.
- Monitoring of bumblebees, butterflies and moths under a national monitoring scheme is ongoing to provide up-to-date information about the country wide status of pollinators. The improvement of monitoring methods will increase the reliablity and extent of the information. In addition, the effect of management intensity of different agricultural schemes (intense, environmental organic) on bumblebees is monitored yearly.
- Research project “Opportunities for mitigation of bee losses”, 2019-2021, has the following annotation: the project will generate recommendations for efficient conservation as well as beekeeping measures. The new scientific knowledge gained by the project allows us to fill existing data gaps and provide optimal measures to mitigate bee losses in Estonia. The project will create the Project Network; evaluate the effects of habitat- and landscape-level factors affecting pollinators; analyse existing veterinary problems and toxic compounds relevant to Estonian conditions; analyse the severity of existing stressor and generate protocols for policymakers to mitigate the effects. https://www.forbee.ee/artiklid/. The project will inform different stakeholders about major threats to bees and the mitigation opportunities.
- Project for the nationwide assessment and mapping of ecosystem services of four main ecosystems, 2019-2020, (co-funded by European CF, Estonian state budget and Estonian Environmental Centre), will assess and map the total supply of the pollination service provided in forests, mires, grasslands and agro-ecosystems.
- To increase the public awareness, a training school was organized by Ministry of the Environment in 2018 for journalists to introduce the pollinators and main threats.
- Action Plan for Pollinator protection will be prepared based on all prescribed information in the LIFE IP ForEst&FarmLand in 2022-2024, with University of Tartu leading the preparation.