Endla Basin

In the central part of Watershed-Estonia, at the southern foot of the Pandivere Upland there is a small landscape unit sharply different from the surrounding areas — the Endla Basin. Being lower than the surrounding areas (ca 80 metres above sea level) and therefore strongly paludified, the basin is almost uninhabited. In the centre of the basin there is Lake Endla, which is a relic of a formerly much larger lake. There are some ten smaller relic lakes in the area, the two best known of these being Lake Sinijärv and Lake Männikjärv. The water level of Lake Endla has lowered several times, as a result of which most of its former aquatorium and islands have become land areas. As a result of this process, the number of fish species in Lake Endla has decreased considerably.

The Endla bog system surrounding the lakes is divided into several parts, with the largest and best known being the Männikjärve, Kaasikjärve, Linnusaare, Toodiksaare and Kanamatsi raised bogs. The average thickness of the peat deposits here is 3–4 metres, reaching a maximum of 7.5 metres. The bogs have abundant muddy hollows and well-established pool systems. These classical raised bogs of East-Estonian type have been studied very thoroughly over a long period of time. At Tooma, a centre of paludological (bog science) research has been functioning since 1911. In the interest of scientific experiments and better exposition of the bogs, boardwalks and two observation towers have been constructed in the bogs. In order to protect the Endla bog system (the largest mire expanse in Central Estonia) along with the lakes and the Norra–Oostriku belt of springs located at the southern foot of the Pandivere Upland, the Endla Nature Reserve was established in 1981, encompassing an area of over 8000 ha. The bogs of Endla provide a habitat for the white-tailed eagle, the golden eagle and the osprey.

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