The Environmental Investment Centre (EIC) together with the Land Board added to the map the restored areas of semi-natural biotic communities along with the grants and the investments necessary for their maintenance, which have been supported via application rounds for European Union structural funds.
‘Semi-natural biotic communities or “heritage biotic communities” are species-rich areas that have developed as a result of long-term grazing and mowing. If they are not cared for, the biotic communities will overgrow and later become forested. This, however, decreases biodiversity. That is why various grants exist to take care of these areas’, explains Ulvi Tuisk, Head of the Nature and Environmental Awareness Area at the EIC. ‘At EIC, we have distributed more than EUR 1.2 million from the European Union’s structural funds in support of restoring 684 hectares of habitats’, she adds.
Ulvi Tuisk notes that the Land Board’s X-GIS 2 map application can now be used to find four new maps reflecting EIC grants: restored areas, objects, roads and investments. ‘This way, these areas are visible to everyone and we hope that we can help inspire other applicants to start working for the benefit of semi-natural biotic communities’, says Tuisk.
The map allows one to find wooded meadows, alvars, low-limestone and calcareous grasslands on mineral soil, heath and floodplain meadows, paludified meadows and coastal areas important for the preservation of species that have been supported from the open rounds of the European Union Cohesion Fund measure ‘Preserving and restoring protected species and habitats’. Since 2015, with the support of the EIC, the biggest restoration effort has been put into restoring a total of 344 hectares of alvars, with 116 hectares of coastal area important for preserving species, and 92 hectares of wooded meadows having also been restored. It is also possible to find the infrastructure and roads needed to access the areas on the map. For example, 20 shelters have been purchased as infrastructure and about 4 kilometres of roads have been built.
The card contains data based on the data of the beneficiaries. The data is updated quarterly. The card is available in the Land Board’s geoportal using the map application ‘Cohesion Fund’s open application round the semi-natural biotic community grants’.
Even now, the EIC has an open application round for the restoration of semi-natural biotic communities, with support provided on the basis of unit price. In addition to NGO-s, foundations, companies, local governments and their associations, and self-employed persons engaged in nature protection, private individuals can also apply for support. Income tax is withheld from support provided to individuals. More information about the application round can be found here, on the EIC homepage. Support is provided from the European Union Cohesion Fund. The measure was developed by the Ministry of the Environment.