Estonia in the middle of climate changes
Jaak Jaagus, Rein Ahas and Anto Aasa study the traces of climate changes in Estonia and Europe. The extreme weather conditions of the past times and discussions related to global climate change have brought the issue of climate more and more often to the interest of general republic. The authors look into the weather statitistics of Estonia, and, based on numerous graphs, diagrams and tables present the major changes over the past hundred years. In general, spring is the season that is most affected by climate change. Springs get earlier and warmer, for example, during the past 50 years the air temperature of March has arisen four degrees in Tartu. Winters, on the other hand, are getting shorter with less snow.
The phenological data confirm climate change in Estonia. The plants that flower in spring, start flowering earlier and earlier. Some phenological phases start as much as three weeks earlier compared to fifty years ago.
Drought is punishing and pointing at our faults
Nikolai Laanetu draws our attention to the influences of drought in nature. Although there have been extensive discussions of the impact of drought on agriculture, the impacts in nature are usually more long-term than we can think of. Drought has especially severe stress on the biota of water bodies. Fish are most sensitive to the drying of water bodies. This summer brought death to massive numbers of offspring of salmon and other endangered fish species. The river lamprey populations were most affected in Saaremaa and in West Estonia. The rough summer troubled even mammals, such as beavers. To a large extent, human activity can be blamed for such miseries. Melioration systems, created so inattentively, are the main causes for drought problems in the nature.
Why do wells and springs become dry?
Rein Perens gives an overview of water level of the past extremely dry summer in the wells. He explains if and how raised bogs can function as water reservoirs, drawing on the example of the Rannu bog in North-East Estonia.
Ancient lindens in Estonian towns
Heldur Sander describes numerous magnificent linden trees growing in Estonian towns. There are several trees that have been planted centuries ago, that have lived over all the wars, fires and environmental problems. The oldest trees are possibly over 300 years old.
Ivar Puura writes about nature in our memory.
Avaste nature protection area
Piret Kiristaja introduces Avaste – nature protection area in West Estonia, aimed at protecting fens in a natural state. In the southern part of the fen one can find the ancient Soontagana stronghold. The article outlines some of the values of the area. Map of the protected area is included as well.
by Toomas Tuul
Politically unstable Estonian endemic plant
Toomas Kukk portrays Saussurea aplina subsp. esthonica – one of the few endemic plant species of Estonia, discovered by Karl Ernst von Baer. The plant grows in fen areas and, like the scientific name indicates, is actually a subspecies of Saussurea aplina. It is found only in Estonia and North Latvia.
Interview: it will take years before the Sun fades out
Toomas Kukk has interviewed Tõnu Viik, specialist of astrophysics.
Practical tips: how to take pictures of birds on winter feeding place
Jaanus Järva gives technical advice to those who want to take pictures of wintering birds at feeding place. He suggests to set up a special place at a forest edge and to hide yourself in a particular shelter tent.
Iceland, hot Nordic country
Helen Alumäe has visited Iceland, the country of utmost interest to geographers and geologists. She toured the wilderness of central Iceland and around the largest continental glacier of Europe – the Vatnajökull. Since Iceland is a very volcanic country, the volcanic activity occurs also underneath the glacier, causing huge occasional floods.
Estonian vascular plants in the Botanical Museum of Helsinki
Merike Kesler and Perrti Uotila describe the collection of herbarium specimens gathered from Estonia in the Botanical Museum of Helsinki. Altogether there are over 7000 specimens that have been collected in the period of 1813–2001. The data of the specimens is now assembled into a special electronic database.
Eesti Loodus enquires
Tiit Teder explains the reason for an enormous number of fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, during the past summer.
Silvia Lotman gives details of the concept of Greenspots.
Curled birches endangered by greed
Ivar Sibul is worried about curled birch, a rare and valuable tree, becoming the victim of market economy.