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Restoration of the south-western part of the Aukštumala Upland (2021)

PROJECT DURATION

Project start -?

End of the project - N / A

THE PROJECT IS FINANCED

 

Stiftung Zukunft Jetzt!

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The aim of the project is to improve the ecological status of habitats of European importance in the south-western part of the Aukštumala Telmological Reserve and to reduce GHG emissions from the wetland damaged by drainage.

 

Project objectives:

   Restoration of the hydrological regime of the south-western part of the Aukštumala Telmological Reserve

    preparation and approval of a simplified draft;

   biodiversity research and hydrological monitoring;

   implementation of hydrological restoration.

 

Upland marsh

The swamp is located in the northern part of the Nemunas delta (Šilutė district) between Lake Krokai Lanka, Tenenis and Minija rivers. It is one of the few Lithuanian wetlands with an area of more than 1000 ha. XX a. pr. The Aukštumala wetland became known to wetland researchers all over the world as it became the first highland wetland in the world to be studied in detail and described in a monograph (Weber, 1902). At that time, the Aukštumala marsh, like most of the Nemunas delta, belonged territorially to East Prussia, whose government in the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century, it initiated the cultivation of the Aukštumala wetland, ie drainage and preparation for peat mining. Peat mining in the eastern part of the wetland, which has been going on for almost 140 years, is having a negative effect on the western unused part of the highland wetland. is declared the Aukštumala Telmological Reserve (1285 ha).

 

The first restoration works of the Aukštumala upland bog were started in 2006. At the initiative of the scientists of the Institute of Botany (since 2010 - the Institute of Botany of the Nature Research Center) and the management of UAB Šilutės durpės (later - UAB Klasmann-Deilmann Šilutė) it is planned to reduce the negative impact of peat mining on the Aukštumala Telmological Reserve. In order to achieve the goal, an original experimental measure isolating the wetland (reducing water loss) was installed in the 1 km long section in the contact zone between the peat bog and the surviving high bog.

 

At the initiative of the Wetlands Research Group of the Lithuanian Fund for Nature, the ecological restoration works in the Aukštumala Telmological Reserve were continued in 2014–2017, implementing the LIFE program project Restoration of the Aukštumala Upland Marsh in the Nemunas Delta Regional Park (LIFE Aukstumala LIFE12 NAT / LT / 000965). During the project, more than 1,200 water retention dams of various designs were installed.

 

The problem: until 2021. In the south-western part of the Aukštumala upland bog (53 ha), due to lack of funds, no nature management and hydrological restoration works were carried out. The territory is separated from the main massif of Aukštumala by the road Šilutė – Kintai. The network of old drainage ditches is still in operation today, so the typical wetland vegetation in this drained part of the wetland gives way to forest communities. However, despite many years of drainage, two types of habitats of European Community importance are found here: 7110 * Active upland marshes and 7120 Degraded upland marshes. During the research, two new habitats of a very rare plant in Lithuania were discovered - Tyruliai (VU, ... p.). This gives hope that the restoration of a hydrological regime favorable to the wetland ecosystem will not only improve the condition of habitats of European Community importance, but also reduce the peatland process and reduce GHG emissions.

 

During the project, it is planned to install 250 dams of various constructions and 130 m long water-retaining dikes.

Project implementation moments:

Jūratė Sendžikaitė and Nerijus Zableckis  pictures