Tree of the Year: Ash tree – oak’s younger brother
Ivar Sibul gives an overview of the numerous good and bad qualities of the tree of the year. The common ash, Fraxinus exelsior, is the largest tree in the Fraxinus family, but since Estonia lies on its northern border of distribution, its measurements are much smaller here. The ash tree is rather demanding towards the soil and climate conditions, and is threatened by colds, diseases, wild animals and insects. The timber is very strong and valuable, and different parts of the tree have found different usage in folk medicine and customs. The article also describes the different foreign species and varieties used in green areas of Estonia. However, since the ash tree is sensitive to air pollution, it is not much grown in larger urban areas.
Estonian climate without the Baltic Sea: the results of a 3-year modeled experiment
Oliver Tomingas took the Baltic Sea off the map and observed the resultant climate changes. It turns out that Baltic Sea is very important for Estonian climate. It causes severe weather contrasts between areas relatively close to each other. It has the biggest impact on the climate of Estonian coastal areas. However, if there was no Baltic Sea, the climate of whole Estonia would be much colder and with less precipitation and winds.
Estonian manors: Huuksi manor and park
Heldur Sander, Alar Läänelaid and Toivo Tammik introduce a less-known manor in Central Estonia. The article presents a short history of the manor and focuses on the development and architecture of the manor park. The park is quite species-rich and includes some rare foreign species. The value of the complex is increased by a strong old linden tree. While this tree is more than 260 years old, the planting of the rest of the park was started in 1860ies and developed until 1905.
Bird of the Year: a swan with a hunched beak
Sven Zaèek has visited a mute swan family and taken pictures of their activities from nesting period until heading to South. The mute swans have become very abundant during the 50 years of their nesting history in Estonia, so observing them is rather simple.
The secret of the Matsalu Bay
Mait Talts repeats the currently unanswered question: did Heinrich Riikoja find two new Rotifera species from Matsalu or not? In 1920, Heinrich Riikoja found two new Rotifera species that he named Lecane matsaluensis and Macrochaetus etshonicus. Neither of these species have been found later. In literature these have been identified as „doubtful” species and many scientists believe that Riikoja found known species, but could not recognize them. However, since there have been no scientists after Riikoja specializing in the Rotifera fauna in Estonia, it is still possible that the species are there, waiting to be rediscovered.
Pajaka landscape protection area
Reigo Roasto and Margit Tennokene describe a protected area founded to protect the valuable old groves, floodplain meadows and mires of the Rapla County. The main value of the protected area is the natural-course Kasari River meandering through the region. The Pajaka protected area consists of 3 different parts and hosts diverse fauna and flora.
European rarities in Estonia: Wood Sandpiper
Agu Leivits writes about Wood Sandpiper, a bird that prefers wet habitats and whose presence gives proof of the good condition of the mire. It is a bird of boreal forests and tundras; in Estonia they are more numerous in West-Estonia and North-East Estonia. Wood Sandpipers mostly inhabit bogs and open transitional mires. The article gives an overview of the biology and habits of the species.
Estonian Nature enquires
Dmitri Kaljo introduces the idea of International Year of Geosciences.
Sven Zaèek and Jaak Põder write about the newly-founded, first Estonian magazine for nature photography – called „Lofo”.
Interview: Seasons affect nature as well as people
Helen Alumäe has interviewed Rein Ahas, Professor of Human Geography
Hiking trail: a journey on the Mudaaugu-Keila hiking trail, or nature around a town
Heli Nurger invites the reader to a diverse hiking trail near the town of Keila, interesting in every season. The 6 km-long hike involves sights such as limestone quarries, denudations and strata, alvars, oak groves and the former tank field.
A year with the Black Stork
Ülo Väli observed three pairs of Black Storks from shield tents, from spring to autumn and noted quite a few interesting things. The Black Storks, extremely rare and extremely afraid of people, are difficult to study. The author publishes the notes of three days of observation from three different locations of Estonia.
Let the Greenlanders have their fishing and hunting
Markus Vetemaa suggests supporting the Greenlanders’ fight for their traditional lifestyle, which, however, seems rather unacceptable for nature protectionists. The life of Greenlanders is very much dependent of fishing and hunting, and the prohibition of such activities would most probably put an end to the existence of Greenlanders. The life in this harsh place is so different from the rest of the world that certain exceptions regarding the use of natural resources should be allowed.