Raised Bogs Estonia

Estonia is a small country rich in wetlands. Located at the far eastern end of the Baltic Sea, more than one-fifth of the territory is covered by swamps, marshes, fens, and bogs (Orru et al., 1993), and more than 40 wetland sites are protected as national parks, nature preserves, or mire conservation areas. Masing (1997) called bogs monuments of nature, because they preserve in their peat deposits a record of past climates and environments. Indeed much of what we know about Scandinavian climate and environment of the past 10,000 years has been gleaned from intensive investigations of bogs.

On the ground, a raised bog presents a rather austere view. It appears to be a haphazard collection of peaty hummocks, muddy hollows, and water-filled pools. As seen from above, however, mires display complex and intricate patterns of vegetation and water bodies, which have resulted

FIGURE 14-2 Superwide-angle view looking northward over Rachael Carson National Wildlife Refuge surrounded by suburban housing. Nesting birds in the salt marsh are particularly sensitive to nearby activity on the ground or overhead, which they may interpret as predators. Special permission was necessary to conduct SFAP using a tethered helium blimp that had to be flown at least 90 m and no more than 150 m above the ground. Silent blimp operation at this height minimized possible disturbance of birds on their nests. Helium-blimp aerial photo by SWA, JSA, and V. Valentine, August 2009; Maine, United States.

FIGURE 14-2 Superwide-angle view looking northward over Rachael Carson National Wildlife Refuge surrounded by suburban housing. Nesting birds in the salt marsh are particularly sensitive to nearby activity on the ground or overhead, which they may interpret as predators. Special permission was necessary to conduct SFAP using a tethered helium blimp that had to be flown at least 90 m and no more than 150 m above the ground. Silent blimp operation at this height minimized possible disturbance of birds on their nests. Helium-blimp aerial photo by SWA, JSA, and V. Valentine, August 2009; Maine, United States.

largely from organic evolution within the bog environment. For the bird's-eye view, various techniques of remote sensing have been applied for mire research in Estonia. These techniques range from satellite imagery (Aaviksoo, 1995; Aaviksoo et al., 2000) and conventional airphotos (Aaviksoo, 1988) to high-resolution, near-surface aerial photography (Aaviksoo et al., 1997).

In order to understand better the detailed spatial geometry of vegetation and water within bogs, KAP was employed at two mire complexes, Endla and Nigula, both designated as Ramsar wetlands of international importance (Fig. 14-3; Aber and Aber, 2001; Aber et al., 2002).

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