LIFE Project Cover Photo

Restoration of Raised Bog Habitats in the Especially Protected Nature Areas of Latvia

Reference: LIFE08 NAT/LV/000449 | Acronym: Raised Bogs

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

Active raised bogs are one of Europe’s rarest and most threatened habitats. They are classified as a priority for conservation in Annex I of the Habitats Directive, along with associated bog woodland habitat. Raised bogs occur throughout Latvia, where they are an important habitat for many bird species. However, in recent decades they have been negatively influenced by drainage, peat extraction, forestry and land reclamation. The drying out of bogs has resulted in the disappearance of birds.


OBJECTIVES

The Raised Bogs project’s principal objectives were the restoration of the priority Habitats Directive habitat ‘active raised bog’ (7110*) and to secure the most favourable conservation status for raised bog bird species listed in the Birds Directive. This was achieved through the development of management plans for four raised bog areas that had become degraded and were in critical need of restoration. The project aimed to implement restoration actions and to monitor the effects of the management actions on raised bog habitats, bird species and raised bog hydrology.


RESULTS

The Raised Bogs project prepared management plans and regulatory documents for four protected areas of raised bog habitat in Latvia, in collaboration with local stakeholder groups. The management plans for all four project sites - Aizkraukle Mire and Forests, Aklais Mire, Melnais Lake Mire and Rozu Mire Nature Reserves - were approved by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. These management plans serve as guidelines for the implementation of restoration actions on these Natura 2000 sites and, as such, are a useful tool for helping the Nature Conservation Agency, Regional Environment protection boards and land owners/managers ensure sustainable conservation of the sites.

Hydrological studies of active raised bog were conducted before the concrete conservation activities, which included the building of dams on drainage ditches at all four project sites using an excavator. The total restored habitat area was 488 ha (instead of the originally foreseen 290 ha). The positive effect of building the dams was clearly evident at all the project sites, with monitoring results showing that the water was raised to a new stable level and that typical raised bogs' vegetation was gradually regenerating. The blocking of drainage ditches should prevent further degradation and establish the conditions necessary for successful raised bog habitats regeneration. Eventually, sphagnum species should begin to dominate in the wetter areas, enabling active peat formation processes to be restored. There was an increase of sphagnum cover in the Melnais Lake Mire just six month after dam construction.

Public awareness on raised bogs conservation has been raised through various activities. Five project booklets (one general and four dedicated to each project site) and a layman’s report were published and distributed. The beneficiary published a 244 page book, “Raised Bog Management for Biological Diversity Conservation in Latvia", in Latvian and English that included detailed information about the value of protecting raised bogs and recommendations for their management and monitoring, based on findings from all four project sites. A travelling exhibition "Secrets of Mires" was prepared and presented in 30 different locations, with 10 accompanying seminars addressing different stakeholder groups. A documentary film entitled “Mires Uncovered” was produced and shown in Latvian schools, nature education centres, universities, museums, libraries, and at international nature film festivals in Estonia and Portugal. It is also available on the project website (www.purvi.lv), along with detailed information on all the project’s results and deliverables. The project’s international conference "Sharing experience on Raised Bog Restoration” was attended by 50 participants from seven European countries. In addition, the project conducted a wide range of networking activities, including exchange contacts with LIFE projects in Wales and Germany, involving study tours, seminars, conferences and meetings.

The conservation actions on active raised bog should benefit up to eight priority habitats of the Habitats Directive, including degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration, transition mires and quaking bogs, depressions on peat substrates of the Rhynchosporion, and natural dystrophic lakes and ponds, along with the many species these habitats support.

The project developed good practice in active raised bog habitat restoration in Latvia. The new experience obtained is applicable regionally, nationally and internationally, and using the prepared management plans it could be put into practice in Natura 2000 sites in several other EU countries.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report, After-LIFE Communication Plan and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE08 NAT/LV/000449
Acronym: Raised Bogs
Start Date: 01/02/2010
End Date: 31/08/2013
Total Eligible Budget: 852,759 €
EU Contribution: 545,035 €
Project Location:

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: University of Latvia
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Raina Blvd. 19, 1050, Riga, Latvia Latvija
Contact Person: Mara PAKALNE
Email: Send Email
Website:


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Bogs and Mires

KEYWORDS

  • protected area
  • nature conservation
  • management plan
  • restoration measure

TARGET HABITAT TYPES

  • 3160 - Natural dystrophic lakes and ponds
  • 7110 - Active raised bogs
  • 7120 - Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration
  • 7140 - Transition mires and quaking bogs
  • 7150 - Depressions on peat substrates of the Rhynchosporion
  • 9020 - "Fennoscandian hemiboreal natural old broad-leaved deciduous forests (Quercus, Tilia, Acer, Fraxinus or Ulmus) rich in epiphytes"
  • 9080 - Fennoscandian deciduous swamp woods
  • 91D0 - Bog woodland

SPECIES

  • Pluvialis apricaria
  • Tringa glareola
  • Philomachus pugnax
  • Mergus albellus
  • Cygnus cygnus
  • Circus aeruginosus
  • Bubo bubo
  • Botaurus stellaris
  • Strix uralensis
  • Haliaeetus albicilla
  • Aegolius funereus
  • Tetrao urogallus
  • Tetrao tetrix tetrix
  • Caprimulgus europaeus
  • Bonasa bonasia
  • Anser albifrons flavirostris
  • Lullula arborea
  • Grus grus
  • Dryocopus martius
  • Pandion haliaetus
  • Agrimonia pilosa
  • Leucorrhinia pectoralis
  • Vertigo moulinsiana

NATURA 2000 SITES

Type Code Name
SPA LV0506500 Rozu purvs
SPA LV0519000 Aklais purvs
SPA LV0528700 Melna ezera purvs
SCI LV0522600 Aizkraukles purvi un mezi

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
University of Latvia Coordinator
Latvian Fund for Nature, Latvia Participant
Association of Documentary Film and Photography ELM MEDIA, Latvia Participant