The sensitivity and adaptation of ecosystems to the disturbances: A case study in northeastern estonia

  • J. -M. Punning
  • T. Toff
  • R. Tann
  • T. Lukki


The study focused on the problem of the response and adaptation of an ecosystem to natural fire in case of greenhouse warming. The palaeoecological approach was used and reconstructions were made for timeca 6000 years ago, when the human impact in the studied area was absent or very weak and the summer temperatures were about 2.4 degrees higher than at the present time. The palaeoreconstructions were compliled using the charcoal, pollen and diatoms data from the sediments of a northeast Estonian lake. The results show that forest fires influenced the biota of the lake mainly through evapotranspiration and the accompanying erosional changes. The impacts of the fire directly to the lake ecosystem were short-term and the primary diatom association was restored after 10–15 years. The pollen influx was influenced by the fires mainly through the changes in the openness of the landscape and the composition of the pollen spectra was restored over a period of 50–60 years. The data demonstrate the high ability of the studied ecosystem to adapt to the impact of natural fires in the climatic environment comparable with that predicted for the future.


adaptation and self-regulation of ecosystems charcoal diatoms Estonia natural disturbances palaeoecology pollen analysis 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. -M. Punning
    • 1
  • T. Toff
    • 1
  • R. Tann
    • 1
  • T. Lukki
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of EcologyTallinnEstonia
  2. 2.Tallinn Pedagogical UniversityTallinnEstonia

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