An autumn view into the world of fungi
Irja Saar guides the reader to the interesting world of fungi, introducing the nutrition manners and basic types of construction of different mushroom species. She explains how fungi are classified into two main groups based on the way they obtain organic compounds: saprotrophic fungi which decompose diverse carbon sources, and biotrophic fungi, which obtain their nutrients from a living host (plant or animal). Saprotrophic fungi have a very important role in nature, as they decompose dead plants, including timber, and release organic compounds back to the cycle. Many species of fungi have symbiotic relations with plants. The article also covers the reproduction biology of fungi: frequently fungi reproduce by the formation of spores.
Why do mushrooms get canker-eaten?
Olavi Kurina describes the main insect groups responsible for turning some of the mushrooms unedible for humans. The main groups associated with fungi are the larvae of Diptera families, mainly the larvae of flies and midges. The fruiting bodies of fungi provide the larvae food and habitation. Scientists have identified the larvae of over 700 species of Diptera from mushrooms. The larvae are often very hard to identify; however, it is known that as the fruiting body of a mushroom grows and ages, the species composition of the Diptera larvae also changes. The most common species of insects preying upon mushrooms are the Sciaroidea – fungus gnats. These gnats are small, from one to at the very most seven millimetres long. Most mushrooms have pests, with only a few exceptions, one of them being the chanterelles, the favourites of many mycophagists. Most very poisonous mushrooms have pests as well.
Tree of the year: The alder buckthorn and common buckthorn are widely distributed, but little known
Ivar Sibul shares advice on how to differentiate between the alder buckthorn – the tree of the year – and its close relative, the common buckthorn. The two species look a lot alike, but belong to different genus. The easiest markers are the leaves and blossoms, and the author provides a table with main features of both tree species. The alder buckthorn is the most common species in the underwood of Estonian forests. The author also describes how people can use the different parts of the bushes. The alder buckthorn has been used quite a lot in households. The branches and timber have been used for weaving baskets; the bark has been used in folk medicine. It is also a valued tree for its nectar, which bees use to produce honey.
Estonian Nature enquires
Keit Pentus-Rosimannus explains the need to increase the environmental charges for oil shale industry.
Piret Kiristaja writes about the fight against the Spanish slug.
Interesting Estonia: The Obinitsa Juudatare Cave
Ain Vellak and Anneli Hellat take the reader to an easily accessible sandstone cave at Setomaa, near Obinitsa. The cave is situated in the valley of the Tuhkvitsa River, on the steep shore of the Obinitsa artificial lake. The cave extends for 3.6 meters into the wall and has been formed by the outflow of a large spring.
Three decades of crooked maps in the magazine „Eesti Loodus“
Heino Mardiste considers reasons and results of publishing intentionally distorted or simplified maps in our magazine during the Soviet times. During the first years of the history of the magazine, in 1930ies, the maps were very small and schematic. The magazine was again started in 1958, after a long pause, in the conditions of Soviet regime, which posed a rough censorship, caused by extensive concealment. All topographic maps, as well as maps with large scale, as well as historical maps were subject to secrecy. Maps were published on scale 1: 2 500 000, which meant that 1 cm was equivalent to 25 km. Round lines were not allowed, and maps turned very blurry, and only grey-scale was used. Things started to change in 1980ies, and the last censored map dates back to February 1990. The detailed and well-illustrated article provides an exciting and almost unbelievable retrospect to the map publication history in our magazine.
Interview: Dendrology is a hobby as well as a profession
Toomas Kukk has interviewed Urmas Roht, a dendrologist.
Plants of Tooma collected by Albert Üksip
Toomas Kukk looks at the origin of the herbarium specimens from Tooma mire station found in the herbarium collection of the Estonian University of Life Sciences. The scientist focused on the differences between hawkweeds from Pilosella and Hieracium genuses. His collection is noteworthy for the plants collected from Tooma in 1942. The author of the article explains the entries on the plant labels and states that these kind of old herbal sheets have and will have scientific value for the many future generations of botanists.
Photography and environmental-friendly way of thinking
Ragnis Pärnmets discusses whether nature photography as a hobby is related to environmental-friendly way of thinking. Nature photography is an excellent way to really get to know nature, and for many photographers, it’s a lifestyle more than a hobby. Inevitably they learn more and more about nature, their object of interest, and become increasingly aware of the biodiversity, processes and trends in the nature.
How to recognize an insect VIII. Beetles and Strepsipterans
Mati Martin continues his series about insect diversity, focusing on species-rich group with many species being very similar in the first glance. Beetles (Coleoptera) are easily recognizable by their hard “shell” and form the most species-numerous order among insects. They are also the most diverse order from the aspect of ecological niches they inhabit. There are many ways to classify the beetles; the most common way is to distinguish between adephagans (Adephaga ‒ predators) and polyphagans (Polyphaga – eaters of many things). The most common and species-rich families of moth groups are listed and described. The Strepsipterans are the close relatives of beetles, but also Diptera. The Strepsipterans are small insect-parasites with unique looks and lifestyle.
Practical tips: mushrooms lend bright colours to yarn
Uve Ramst shares tips on how to use fungi for coloring yarn: this autumn has provided a large yield of mushrooms, which can successfully be used for obtaining a large variety of colors. Strangely enough, there is no long folk tradition in using mushrooms for color. The first testings were made in 1970ies independently in USA and Sweden. There are a few species known for their colouring qualities, but a lot remains to be discovered while working. Different stains are very important in the process, as they fix the colors and can give the yarn different color accents.
Tiit Kändler’s essay: The minions of undiscovered time