Needles in haystacks and the end of a start

Hello again, this time from our home base, in the Netherlands. We have finished our field work, after which we, the students, separated our ways to either discover other parts of Scandinavia or to return to our homes. I reunited with the busy concrete world in the Netherlands. I definitely miss the trees, the amazing views and the smell of Ledum. So let me bring you back to the final days of our field work.

View at Pulmankijarvi-jaggi

View at Pulmankijarvi-jaggi

As I told you in my previous post, we had a lot to do in a short amount of time. On Wednesday we collected the second cafeteria. We counted the number of seeds still present and checked whether the seedlings were damaged or not. We also collected the cameras and set traps for the voles. This time there were no ladies captured by our cameras. However, a different species was enjoying the palsa mire: reindeer. We were very happy to capture reindeer on camera, as the site of our second cafeteria experiment supposed to be a grazed area.

The next day we went back to Pulmankijarvi-jaggi to collect the resin bags and to check the emergence of the seeds and the survivability of the seedlings. Although we were a bit uncertain if there would be germination, we already found germination at our second pounu. It gave a great feeling that trees are able to germinate on pounu. After this success we were even more enthusiastic and determined to find every seed back. This was however a though job. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but then more difficult as seeds are not shiny but have a good camouflage colour. After a long day of seek and find, we returned to the traps we set the day before and checked whether we captured something. Indeed, we captured 6 voles. Hereafter it was time to reset the traps and go home to have a good meal.

Germination Scots pine

Germination Scots pine

Germination Siberian larch

Germination Siberian larch

On Friday we went to Vaisejaggi to collect the resin bags and to check the emergence of the seeds and the survivability of the seedlings in our ungrazed site. This site was definitely a different story. We could hardly find the seeds and we found only a few germinated seeds. It was a rainy cold day, but at the end of the day we were satisfied as we had finished most of the hard work. We only had two days left before our travelling started.

The next day we only had to send a package with samples to the Netherlands and to collect the traps at Pulmankijarvi-jaggi. As this would not take a long time we enjoyed the views Finnish Lapland have to offer once more and we also did some final shoppings to survive the at least 37 hours journey towards home for most of us. This time we captured 9 voles in the traps. It seems that the grazed site has more voles than the ungrazend site, which might be an explanatory variable whether trees are able to establish in a certain area.

Although we have some results, next years will be important to gain more insight on the role of shrubs on the establishment of seedlings of trees on pounu with and without permafrost. I am curious if and which answers we will find on our questions in this topic. I enjoyed starting up a new research, the dynamics that go with it and working in such a beautiful environment.

Thanks again for checking this blog and hopefully you will be updated by another student on this research next year.

Thanks from Johan, Ana and Roel

Thanks from Johan, Ana, Roel …

and me

… and me

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