Põhja-Kõrvemaa Nature Reserve was founded in 1991 on the area of a closed military training ground in the northern part of Transitional Estonia. Its current area is 13,157.9 ha. The area was practically deserted and many biotas developed after their own course for a very long time. The relief of the nature reserve is very diverse: esker ridges, high and flat kames, sandy areas and over 30 diverse and deep lakes. Almost a half of the territory is covered by different bog and riparian forest communities. Conifers are the predominant species in the forests.
The mosaicism and diverse lakes of the landscape offer a suitable habitat for different plant species and an abode for bird and animal species, including large game, who have a hidden lifestyle. The population has never been very numerous, the word “kõrb, kõrve” in Estonian signifies a large forest. The writer Anton Hansen Tammsaare, who captured the landscape and places of the reserve in his creations, lived for some time in the forest village of Koitjärve.