Forest ditches should be maintained
Jaan Schults considers it important to maintain drainage systems as an essential part of forestry, not to neglect these as a negative heritage of the Socialist rule. As a matter of fact, forests were drained already in the 19th century. The main aims of forest drainage are to increase the incremental growth and improve the quality of timber, as well as to enable access. Currently, the State Forest Management Agency (RMK) only attempts to restore the existing ditches rather than creating new ones. Reconstruction of drainage is very expensive. Beaver is seen as a main threat to drainage systems.
Forest ditches have their dark side as well
Nikolai Laanetu suggests that the designers of forest drainage should have a more extensive ecological thinking. He points out that the sedimentation conditions are very poor in artificial ditches, creating conditions that are not favorable for a large number of inhabitants, such as many fish species and the broad-fingered crayfish. The author proposes to cooperate with nature rather than fight against it.
Let’s help the nature to recover
Rainer Kuuba considers possibilities to restore the natural water regime of forest affected by drainage. In European countries, many efforts are made to restore the naturalness of forests. In Estonia the forests have not been as much affected and therefore we could rather easily avoid problems happened elsewhere. The author suggests to start from protected areas and to keep in mind that restoring naturalness is a very long-term change.
Forest drainage in the heart of Hiiumaa
A forest drainage case from the Hiiumaa Island is discussed by several authors.
Gray alder – the Cinderella of Estonian forests?
Lembit Maamets describes the triumphal progress of the gray alder on former arable lands and on fresh spruce clearings, and draws attention to the modest use of the species. Foresters often regard the tree as a weed, and it hasn’t gained much support in our culture nor in forestry. In Estonia, the gray alder is usually the pioneer on fertile fallow lands. Most of Estonian gray alder stands are in felling age or more, however, the actual felling is only 3% of the total felling in Estonian forests. There is definitely a need to find new usage possibilities for that fast-growing tree.
Mycorrhiza – useful for the plant and the fungus
Leho Tedersoo and Maarja Öpik take the reader into the complicated world of the co-existence of plants and fungi. Mycorrhiza is a ubiquitous symbiotic complex organ formed by a plant root and a fungus. Mycorrhiza substantially increases the mineral nutrition and survival of plants, and it is the only source of carbon for mycorrhizal fungi. Due to development of the oldest type, arbuscular mycorrhiza, continental land could be colonised by plants in the early Ordovician. Ectomycorrhiza has evolved later in plant families rich in trees. Symbiotic relationships between fungi and plants facilitated the development of extra niches used by orchids and other mycoheterotrophic plants.
Eesti Loodus enquires
Malle Mandre describes changes in the stress-resistance of coniferous trees.
Linda Poots is asked about what changes she would make to the current “Eesti Loodus” magazine.
The landscape protection area of the primeval valley of the Ahja River
Marika Arro introduces the denudations, caves and other interesting features of the Ahja River primeval valley. The Suur Taevaskoda denudation is well known; however, there are numerous other sights as well, such as diverse landscapes and views in the river valley, forests full of berries and mushrooms, and a rich aviofauna.
European rarities in Estonia: Sphagnum mosses and Leucobryum glaucum
Kai Vellak writes about rare and common Sphagnum mosses (peat mosses), and takes a closer look at the moss Leucobryum glaucum spread in West-Estonia.
Toomas Kukk has interviewed Peep Mardiste, the leader of Estonian Green Movement.
Madagascar, the land of lemurs and chameleons
Hendrik Relve took an insight into the biological diversity of Madagaskar. The island, ten times larger than the territory of Estonia, is known for a large number of rare or endemic species. The best example is the Lemur Family. The author has seen, pictured and written about many different exiting Lemur species. In addition to lemurs, he was lucky enough to catch the sight of different chameleon species.
Practical tips: choosing the best of the binoculars
Toomas Kukk gives an overview of the good and bad aspects of the non-expensive binoculars. The binoculars sold in our stores were tested by three bird-watchers. The price of these binoculars ranges between 1000–6500 EEK. The ones with the best qualities were found to be Olympus EXWP series binoculars. The article is supported by a table giving facts about the technical data and ratings given by testers.
Practical tips: environmental-friendly renovation is more than just “eco-crumpling”
Rein Ahas, Age Poom and Siiri Silm give advice to renovators to help them assess the environmental friendliness of their work. They have developed a table-format assessment tool that can be downloaded from www.geo.ut.ee/ehitusmoodik.
Toomas Jürgenstein reflects on nature in religion and religion on nature.