Unique in Europe: Soomaa national park 20
Hans Trass recalls the story of the name Soomaa and points out reasons why this area was specifically distinguished at the time. The lovely and species-rich flooded meadows of the Halliste River, and the magical bogs enchanted the author form his very first visits. Numerous studies indicated the need to take the unique area under holistic protection. In 1992 Estonian Fund for Nature proposed creating a national park, and the author, Hans Trass, insisted its name. The park has international importance as a research and study site.
Some memories of creating the Soomaa national park
Uudo Timm bestows the time period 20 years ago, when Estonia had just regained its re-independence and had to deal with land reforms and private property. The hardships the activists had to overcome seem impossible. However, it would not be much easier to create a new protected area today. The author marks down the history of creating the park, and explains the reasons behind the several obstacles. A Danish aid project helped to compose the management plan, which was one of the first of the kind in Estonia, and helped Estonian nature conservationists to gain valuable experiences and knowledge for future work.
What do you do at Soomaa in summertime?
Algis Martsoo invites the readers to visit Soomaa on other season, not just during the famous „fifth season“, which certainly stands out as one of the trademarks of the area. However, the „fifth season“, which marks the outstandingly high water level that stays for several days, does not necessarily happen in spring. In 2010 the author founded a canoeing route into the forest, as the high water level allows people to canoe in the middle of the forest.
Estonians helped to choose world heritage
Urve Sinijärv, Ülle Reier and Nele Ingerpuu summarize the experiences that Estonia has gained from being a member of the UNESCO world heritage committee. Estonian delegation has had its role in stressing the importance of heritage, which had lately become overlooked. We also helped to diminish the collusion between countries and to establish a database of research reports. During the 4 years of our involvement, 91 heritage sites were added to the UNESCO list, including 18 natural objects. The authors describe the 18 natural heritage areas and the stories of their applications. They also introduce the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger (Danger List), which is designed to inform the international community of conditions which threaten the very characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, and to encourage corrective action.
A handful of world heritage sites in Europe
Toomas Jüriado shares his impressions of world heritage in Europe: many of the exciting sites are located close to us. As the European list is very long, the author had to make a choice: in the article he describes and pictures some of the heritage sites, both natural and cultural, from Albania, Byelorussia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Sweden, Switzerland and Macedonia.
Estonian nature enquires
Marko Gorban explains the support measures for taking care of semi-natural communities within the framework of the next period of the Rural Development Plan.
Interview: Estonian bogs are the best in Europe
Juhan Javoiš has interviewed Gert-Jan van Duinen, a bog scientist.
Cultural heritage objects with the history of common use
Lembitu Tverdjanski, Triin Kusmin and Jürgen Kusmin look for signs of communal activities in the landscape. The examples of such objects include threshing-barns, communal granaries, windmills and watermills, village fields and outskirts, village schools, civic centres, dairy houses and fire stations.
Drowned sandstone denudations and our roots
Kalle Kroon calls for ending the Stalinist period in our use of nature: the Saesaare artificial lake has to be abolished and let go downstream. When the Saesaare hydropower station and the dam were built in 1952, 5 km of beautiful Ahja River, including 28 sandstone denudations and a lovely cascade were drowned. The river section, especially the shallow cascade formed suitable habitats for protected salmon species. Now it’s all gone. Even though most people seem to agree that such a dam is a sign of stupidity, there are many people, especially among departments, who have serious doubts.
The future of the Saesaare artificial lake has to be thouroughly considered
Rein Kalle looks at the plan to liquidate the Saesaare dam from the point of view of the environmental service: before such an important decision is to be made, all the plans have to be thought through carefully, and be discussed with the local community. It’s is clear that the project would need large-scale financing from European funds. Moreover, the landscape would not be the same as it was before the lake was created. Regeneration of landscape values and beauty would take decades.
Tree of the year: Guelder rose
Karl Pajusalu studies the story of the tree’s name history: does the Estonian name lodjapuu have a Fenno-Ugric stem, or can we sense the preferences of botanists some centuries ago? There is no clear answer, but in most languages and dialects the name of the tree is associated with its large white flowers. Lodjapuu is a South-Estonian name with very unclear origin; in North-Estonia, the tree was called õispuu (flower tree).
Estonian Nature enquires
Mario Talvist explains why the caretakers of semi-natural communities need more financing.
Karl Ander Adami records the way of life and behavioural characteristics of hedgehog, our common neighbour. As the hedgehogs eat insects, but also snails and molluscs, they are important means of biological repellents in our gardens. They also eat small frogs and mammals, and even snakes.