Summary Eesti Loodus 2014/05


Special issue: PEIPSIMAA


Forest between poet Juhan Liiv and Peipsi

Nils Niitra meditates over his experiences and findings he has gained during the 13 years he has lived in the Peipsi area (Peipsimaa). He refers to the wishes of Estonian poet Juhan Liiv to see the waters of Lake Peipsi and talks about the people of the area – the old believers, but also others. However, the Peipsi area has remained somewhat alien for Estonians, and has therefore stayed quite wild and uninhabited.


Diverse Peipsimaa

Taavi Pae takes a geographer’s look at the surroundings of Lake Peipsi: its landscapes, nations and cultures. There are four landscape regions surrounding Lake Peipsi, and a number of nations living in the area. Two of the nations have already disappeared. As the coastline of Lake Peipsi is hemmed with villages and small owns, the author takes a tour from the northeast to south, describing the settlement structure and stating that Peipsimaa is a borderland of cultures.


Trips to the old believers: octafurcated crosses, dense villages and high garden beds

Toomas Jüriado shares his experiences and knowledge about Russian old believers living on the coast of Lake Peipsi. He starts with the history of old believers and how they fled from Russia to borderlands, such as Estonia. Then he takes to a journey from village to village, from church to church, suggesting travel tips along the way. In addition, the author takes us to a little excursion about onion cultivation.


Collaboration efforts of Estonia and Russia on Lake Peipsi

Külli Kangur introduces Lake Peipsi in general and observes how the neighbouring countries cope with studying and managing the border lake. It is quite clear that Lake Peipsi is not a very healthy lake; however the two neighbouring states that own the lake largely disagree on its protection needs and methods. Even if samples are taken together as a team, the resulting parallel analyses provide very different results. We have to act fast, as the state of the lake is constatantly deteriorating.


Kallaste bank on the coast of Lake Peipsi

Rein Einasto describes one of the best known geological sights of interest at Lake Peipsi. The sandstone cliff extends for about 930 meters along the coast. The walls are mostly less than 5 m high, while the highest cliff towers to 9 m during low water level. The bank presents representative Middle Devonian „Old Red“ sandstones and hides valuable fossils.


A deceit with Bandit’s kriiva

Taavi Pae found a mistake on the Russian topographical map from the 1970ies–1980ies: two redundant ridges that do not exist in landscape. The author discusses the possible reasons behind such mistake and also sheds some light on the origin of the landform’s strange name – Bandit’s kriiva (ridge).


Estonian Nature enquires

Eeva Kirsipuu introduces the activities of Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation.


New facts about the history of fishing management on Lake Peipsi

Erki Tammiksaar has researched the heritage of Karl Ernst von Baer and found a number of unpublished facts and illustrations from his archives. He sheds some light on the fishing rights of 17th–18th century Russia (including the provinces of Estonia and Livonia) and states that fish resources were abundant and fishing was a profitable business. In the 19th century the fish resources decreased considerably and there was a clear need for regulations. In 1851–1852 an expedition led by Karl Ernst von Baer was sent to Lake Peipsi to find out the state of fish resources and fishing in Lake Peipsi. The article gives an exciting insight into old documents, including the first-ever published illustrations from Baer’s expeditions.


If there was no forest! – Culturally variegated Peipsimaa

Marju Kõivupuu calls back on the older and more recent folk tradition from the Peipsi area. These traditions mostly include those of the Russian old believers, but also the local Estonians. Without doubt, it’s the lake that forms the basis of folk lore of the area. However, there is also an old oak tree growing at Rannamõisa, and there are numerous interesting tales associated to it.


Interview: It would be good if there were much less professional fishermen on Lake Peipsi

Rainer Kerge (Õhtuleht) has interviewed Urmas Pirk, the chairman of the board of MTÜ Body of Lake Peipsi Fishing Area Management Developers.


The most interesting plant rarities of the coast of Lake Peipsi

Ülle Kukk focuses on three characteristic plant species of the Peipsi area: greater bur-marigold (Bidens radiata), a sedge brown galingale (Cyperus fuscus) and fiber optic grass (Scirpus cernuus). All the three species are related to the coastal zone of Lake Peipsi and are on the edge of their distribution in Estonia.


Whitefish, an endangered precious fish species of Lake Peipsi

Külli Kangur and Andu Kangur examine why this characteristic fish species of Lake Peipsi became almost extinct. The whitefish used to be a very abundant species in Peipsi, it was a mainstay of the local people’s cuisine. However, about 25 years ago the number of whitefish decreased very suddenly to a critical level. Such a collapse has remained a mystery, but now the researchers are trying to find an answer. It seems that the main reason for the collapse was the cumulative effect of three years of extreme weathers in the end of 1980ies: an extremely hot summer followed by two years of poor ice conditions. Human-induced eutrophication also plays a role in whitefish resources.


Peipsiveere protected area – wild and diverse

Madli Jõks gives an overview of Estonia’s largest protected area (35 000 ha). The best-known parts of the area are the Emajõe Suursoo (mire) and Island Piirissaar. The area is mostly very sparsely inhabited and difficult to access, making it possible for the nature to take its own course. The most valuable habitats include The mire system of the Emajõgi river delta, coastal mires of Lake Peipsi, and the wetlands and coastal landscapes of Piirisaare Island. It’s a valuable nature and bird area of European importance.


The shipping history of Lake Peipsi

Liisa-Lota Kaivo discusses the reasons behind the former glory and current modesty of shipping on Lake Peipsi. Innovations have been slow because of the lake does not have a good connection with sea. On the other hand, some of the drastic changes in shipping history have been caused by the fact that the lake has been a domestic lake as well as a border lake. The main cargo ship for 600 years was the archaic barge, which were destroyed during the II World War. No barges were built after the war, and new-type barges hauled by towboats were taken into use. The author gives a quite detailed overview of the periods and main issues of different periods in the shipping history of Lake Peipsi.


Hiking trails: From the forests of Järvselja to the sandy beaches of Kauksi

Katre Palo gives advice about which hiking trails to choose at the Peipsi area. There is a diverse choice of trails of different length and focus starting from the old-growth forests of Järvselja to the remarkable sand dunes on the northern coast of Lake Peipsi.


Tiit Kändler’s essay: Lake Peipsi and its people


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