shallow sea


  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    2,424 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    58°18'N 22°51'E
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Laidevahe is a wetland complex on the southern coast of Saaremaa Island in the Baltic Sea. It features a broad diversity of coastal and aquatic habitats including lagoons, shallow coastal lakes, more than 40 small islands, coastal meadows, saltmarshes and extensive reed beds. The wetland has a rich plant biodiversity, hosting 541 different species, 31 of which are nationally protected. The complex is important for a number of bird species that use it for breeding and as a migration stopover. These include internationally vulnerable species such as the velvet scoter (Melanitta fusca) and horned grebe (Podiceps auritus), and also nationally endangered species such as the dunlin (Calidris alpina schinzii) and ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres). The wetland is also an important source of food, shelter and spawning grounds for several fish species, most notably the critically endangered European eel (Anguilla anguilla). Overgrowing of reeds is a threat to the coastal meadows, and can potentially reduce their biodiversity. Commercial activities such as overfishing, forestry and recreation activities in the area and its surroundings also present a potential threat to the wetland.

Administrative region: 
Saare County, Saaremaa Island

  • Global international designation: 
    • UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • National legal designation: 
    • Nature Conservation Area - Laidevahe
  • Regional (international) legal designations: 
    • EU Natura 2000
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

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