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  Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences

ISSN 1736-7557 (electronic)  ISSN 1736-4728 (print)
An international scientific journal

Formerly: Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Geology
Published since 1952

Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences

ISSN 1736-7557 (electronic)  ISSN 1736-4728 (print)
An international scientific journal

Formerly: Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Geology
Published since 1952

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Development of the reed bed in Matsalu wetland, Estonia: responses to neotectonic land uplift, sea level changes and human influences; pp. 159–172

(Full article in PDF format) doi: 10.3176/earth.2015.24


Authors

Mats Meriste, Kalle Kirsimäe

Abstract

We studied reed bed development in Matsalu wetland and the Kasari River delta, Estonia, since the late 18th century using historical schemes, topographical maps and aerial photographs. Our aim was to understand the mechanisms controlling reed distribution in Matsalu wetland, the largest coastal wetland of the eastern Baltic Sea occupying an area of about 25 km2. Natural development of the reed bed in Matsalu Bay and the Kasari delta is mainly controlled by shoreline displacement due to post-glacial neotectonic land uplift. The dredging of the Kasari delta in the 1920s–1930s caused a rapid seaward migration of reed bed communities due to the dispersal of fragmented rhizomes on the shallow sea bottom and along the canal banks reaching Matsalu Bay, while the landward parts of the former wetland were occupied by meadow communities. The expansion of the reed bed started in between the 1951s and 1970s and a maximum extent of 27 km2 was gained by the late 1970s at the peak of eutrophication. In the last decades the reed bed development has been influenced by sea level rise and increased intensity of cyclonic activity in the Baltic Sea, which has caused the deterioration of the reed bed that was weakened by eutrophication due to nutrient inflow from agricultural landscapes mainly in the 1960s–1980s.

Keywords

Phragmites, land uplift, sea level, storminess, dredging, eutrophication.

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