Pure nature, wealth of South Estonia
The indescribable wealth that embraces us amidst the pure nature of South Estonia is difficult to express in words or numbers. This wealth can only be experienced with your own senses – by inhaling, caressing with your eyes, touching with your hands, tasting with your lips, saving all of it on your inner hard drive. It cannot be exchanged for money or sold with profit. Then this wealth instantly loses its value.
According to customary views, besides the hills of Valga, Võru and Põlva County, South Estonia also includes Tartu and Viljandi County and a sizable portion of Jõgeva County, which in turn are divided into smaller areas – Soomaa or Setomaa, Vooremaa or Haanimaa, among others. What one perceives as South Estonia is perhaps not that essential after all. What is more important is that we are talking about an area which still offers exciting landscapes and habitats for numerous species that need to be protected.
You can experience genuine nature in the flood-meadows and transitional bog of the Emajõgi River, in the areas of Alam-Pedja and Soomaa, among the lakes and woods of Vooremaa, the old-growth forest of Järvselja, the sandy slopes of Piusa, the hill ridge of Otepää and Haanja, and the primeval forests of Karula. You might encounter wolves, bears and eagles but also some rare butterfly species, birds, amphibians – the great snipe, booted warbler, citrine wagtail, northern crested newt, pelobates fuscus … one could go on and on about the diversity of species in South Estonia. All of us need to contribute to ensure that the natural wealth we are used to and sometimes take for granted continues to be preserved into the future.