Palaeolimnological assessment of environmental change over the last two centuries in oligotrophic Lake Nohipalu Valgjärv, southern Estonia; pp. 124–132Full article in PDF format | doi:10.3176/earth.2009.2.03
The main objectives of this study were to reconstruct the environmental conditions for a small oligotrophic lake during the last two centuries, to determine if the environment of the lake was anthropogenically mediated, and to assess the pre-impact reference conditions with palaeolimnological techniques. A short sediment core from Lake Nohipalu Valgjärv was analysed in detail for diatom assemblages as well as for loss-on-ignition measurements. Accurate chronology of the sediment core was established and evaluated by different independent approaches – 210Pb, 137Cs, and 241Am dating, and the distribution of spheroidal fly-ash particles in sediments. Quantitative inference models based on sedimentary diatoms were applied to reconstruct changes in past lake water pH. Before the mid-19th century, Nohipalu Valgjärv was an oligotrophic lake with clear water continuously transparent down to the bottom and with rich benthic diatom flora. Since the early second half of the 19th century, presumably as a result of forest logging around the lake, water transparency decreased and benthic diatom productivity diminished, and the lake did not recover any more to natural baseline conditions. Due to peat mining activities in the Meenikunno bog, the quality of lake water has changed during the last two decades. The lowered lake level, deteriorated light climate, and decreased pH are the most important environmental variables that have influenced the lake ecosystem.
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