—-“Based on historical data, it is estimated that there are around 2500 sacred natural sites in Estonia, the largest of them covering up to 100 hectares. Although rather exceptional among most of the technologically developed countries, in Estonia both the sacred natural sites and indigenous customs connected to them are still in use. Therefore, the heritage that is connected to sacred natural sites has great importance to the national identity and environment of Estonians.
In collaboration between followers of Estonian native religion (Maausk) and governmental ministries, a national plan was prepared in 2008: “Sacred Natural Sites in Estonia: Study and Conservation 2008–2012″ which includes about 550 hiis (sacred groves). The National Plan on Sacred Natural Sites consists of a historical overview about sacred natural sites in Estonia, a current situation analysis, and several concrete conservation measures and instructions on how to apply them. The coordinating steering committee of the Conservation Plan consist of Environment, Agriculture, Internal Affairs and Education and Research ministries, National Heritage Board and MK. The University of Tartu is the implementing agency. Measures of the Conservation Plan are designed to handle natural sanctuaries and values connected to them in all aspects.
The Conservation Plan foresees creating a database which supports researching and managing natural sanctuaries. The database would consist of folkloric, archaeological, natural, historical and other data on sacred natural sites and provide information on the exact location, condition and form of ownership of each site.”—-