Peatland restoration experience in Latvia

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Mara Pakalne , Liga Strazdina, Krisjanis Libauers

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Peatlands in Latvia, including raised bogs, fens and spring mires are influenced by various human activities, determining the need of their conservation and restoration activities. To diminish drainage influence of peatlands, European Commission LIFE program projects were implemented in especially protected nature areas with the aim to restore peatland habitats of EU importance. Results of four projects LIFE “Peat Restore”, LIFE Restore”, LIFE “Wetlands”, LIFE “Raised bogs” starting from 2010 to 2021 are evaluated where positive wetland restoration experience was gained in 16 peatlands. Prior to implementation of restoration actions, vegetation, hydrological, geological studies were performed, including remote sensing methods. Changes in plant cover and site hydrology, resulting from water level raise in raised bog habitats in drained areas are analyzed in permanent vegetation releves. Results of hydrological monitoring show that after implementation of restoration actions, water level has raised in degraded bog areas. Six months after the raise of water level, vegetation monitoring results reveal that there is an increase of Sphagnum species characterizing the wetter parts of bogs while die back of species of drier habitats, like Calluna vulgaris, is observed. In the ever-changing landscape fens are even more vulnerable that raised bogs, as their reaction to water level raise is faster. Knowing that fens sustain higher species diversity than bogs, their conservation is in high need. Therefore, results of tree removal and elimination of alien species in transition mires and alkaline fens were studied to prepare the best solution mechanisms for rare habitat management.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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