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Language: Estonian with English species descriptions, keys and figure titles
Sphagnum mosses are widely distributed and common throughout most of the world. These mosses play a leading role in peat formation and can even alter landscapes by acting in mire formation and development. People have long used Sphagnum mosses for their everyday necessities and therefore these mosses are rather well known at the genus level. It is nonetheless also important to recognize the species. Species identification enables us to evaluate the state of mire and forest communities, and to make sound decisions to protect different sites and species. Sphagnological studies in Estonia started already in the 19th century by Edmund A. F. Russow and Gustav C. Girgensohn, who both worked in Tartu. They described eight previously unidentified Sphagnum species on the basis of specimens collected from Estonia. The first guide book of Sphagnum mosses of Estonia by Laasimer et al. (1954) was published more than fifty years ago. As this book is long out-of-print, and the taxonomy and even species composition in Estonia have since changed, the need has arisen for a new book on local Sphagnum.
With The Sphagnum Mosses of Estonia the authors would like to give an overview on the distribution, growth habitats, anatomy, ecology, use, and nature protection of peat mosses in Estonia. However, their primary aim is to encourage and help the reader to recognize species in field conditions with the help of original photographs, drawings and descriptions, or at home with a microscope. Therefore the book is supplemented with two keys, one providing field-characters and the other microscopic characters. The keys, short descriptions of species and figure titles are also given in English. Thus The Sphagnum Mosses of Estonia can be used in neighbouring countries as well, since all 38 Sphagnum species included in The Sphagnum Mosses of Estonia are widely distributed in mires and forests in the temperate zone. Distribution maps presented in this book are based on specimen data maintained at the Estonian herbaria. They give an overview of the species frequencies in all fifteen Estonian counties. With the help of The Sphagnum Mosses of Estonia we hope to lead you to the amazing world of Sphagnum mosses – maybe all similar at first glance, but each quite attractively unique upon a closer look.