Summary Eesti Loodus 2013/02

 Summary

The Tartu ski marathon runs on lovely landscape

Taavi Pae introduces sights of natural and cultural interest close to the ski tracks. Most of the track runs on Otepää Upland, and the relief is therefore quite hilly for the most part of the track. Each hill has a name, and so do the farmsteads, many of which have cultural importance for Estonians. For example, several famous films have been shot in this area. Numerous open hills offer fantastic views over the hilly landscape. There are also lakes and watermills, meadows and mires along the tracks – surely it is worth to take time and slide along the trail on a winter day.

The weather conditions of Tartu ski marathon through the decades

Jaak Jaagus takes a climatologist’s glance at the history of Tartu ski marathon. The first marathon was held in 1960, the 42nd marathon in 2013. On 12 winters the marathon has been cancelled due to the lack of snow. Statistics indicate that the weather has been great at about 50% of the winters. Estonian winters are very capricious, influenced first and foremost by extensive atmospheric circulation. So our winters can offer severe cold, as well as icy melt-downs. On top of that, winter weather can differ a lot between different places of Estonia. To conclude: although the marathon has been cancelled on several occasions due to the lack of snow, there is hope that we’ll have snow most winters in future as well.

How much does a skier have to climb?

Tõnu Oja seeks to find out how many times a skier has to climb up or go downhill along the marathon track. The track has been changed three times, so it is interesting to compare these different tracks. Complicated calculations reveal that the average rise is 13–14 m/km along the current track, and the current track also has the highest number of total rise: 1430 m.

The first ski marathon

Heino Mardiste recalls the first Tartu ski marathon in 1960, when 147 men started the 54 km-long journey from Tartu to Kääriku. The author recalls that he became extremely hungry, but even though the journey was tough, he participated in several following marathons as well.

What is it that attracts people to attend the marathon again and again?

Enn Kaup shares his experiences and impressions from his travels to Antarctica as well as from Tartu ski marathons. He stresses the emotional part of the marathon: being part of something great. As an arctic scientist, the marathon is also like a health test for him.

After years of marathon experience, the hills seem lower and lower

Teet Jagomägi, a long-time marathon skier admits that after years of training and skiing, the hills do not seem to be that high any more. He takes a look back into his first marathon years and admits that Tartu ski marathon is always fun, no matter how much you have trained.

Estonian Nature enquires

Mare Liiger shares advice about how to avoid frost damage. There are local damages as well as overall cooling. Most of these damages never happen to sportsmen, but rather to people who are drunk. The doctor calls to pay attention to people who might be in danger, and to be aware of first signs of frost damage.

How do nature photographs end up in Vikipedia?

Ivo Kruusamägi gives an overview of the third Estonian contest for nature photographs, called the HELP. This year 307 photographs from 21 contestants were added to the web encyclopedia. The article includes about a dozen of these new photographs as illustrations.

Bats in the forests of Alutaguse

Liisa Rennel gives an overview of the lifeways of bats living in forest habitats, and offers advice to habitat managers. We don’t know much about forest bats, and therefore a research was started in the forests of Alutaguse, known as a habitat of flying squirrels. 8–9 species of our 12 bat species were detected, including three rare species. The research demonstrated the preferred habitat types and features: the most valuable are old-growth broad-leaved forests. In addition, no contest for habitats was found between bats and flying squirrels.

Interview: „Eesti Loodus“ (Estonian Nature) began to be published again right before the first Tartu ski marathon

Toomas Kukk has interviewed Leo Uuspõld, the former editor in chief of the magazine „Eesti Loodus“ (Estonian Nature).

Animal of the Year: Baltic Wolf: 10 years of managed hunting

Peep Männil, Janis Ozolinš and Linas Balciauskas compare the status quo of wolves in three Baltic countries, and pay attention of the „wolf war“ of Saaremaa as well. In 1990ies the number of wolves was high in all three Baltic countries and the wolves were hunted a lot. By the beginning of the 21st century, the number had become very low: possibly only 40 wolves in Estonia. Due to the negotiations with EU the management plans for wolves and other large carnivores were put together in 2001. The number of wolves in a country is much influenced by the human tolerance level and awareness of the people. It seems that Estonians are most tolerant towards wolves, compared to the other Baltic countries.

Talking stones

Lembitu Tarang, Triin Kusmin and Jürgen Kusmin describe the diversity and status of memorial stones as important landmarks of heritage culture. Many of such stones are dedicated to historical events, or important people in history, but there are also those related to legends. There are currently 316 memorial stones and 363 other types of stones enlisted in the database of heritage culture of Estonia.

Reed and its use

Ülo Kask and Livia Kask introduce reed, a common grass, its good and bad qualities and ways of use. Even though the plant is often associated with marine coastal areas, it actually does not stand salt water. It can only grow in the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea in areas much influenced by fresh water. In last decades reed has become a problematic plant in protected areas, where it has grown on valuable habitats, pushing away most other plant species. The total area of reedbeds in Estonia is 27 746 ha.

Bird of the Year: Partridge

Remo Savisaar describes his encounters with partridges in text and photos and gives advice on how to bring the risks of disturbance to a minimum when shooting photos of birds and animals. Partridges are very fearful and as winters are harsh for them, it is of key importance to let them save their energy.