Demonstration of peatland restoration on intensively used agricultural land for climate change mitigation in Baisogala
Duration 2020-2021 (1 stage)
Greifswald Mire Centre (Germany)
Michael Succow Foundation (Germany)
Institute of Animal Science of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (Lithuania)
Combining nature protection, scientific-experimental and land user interests, it is planned to restore the hydrological regime and accelerate the formation of wet fen meadow habitats (approx. 8 ha) in the vicinity of Baisogala town (Kemerai village, Lithuania).
Due to drainage and intensive land use, the area has been severely damaged and lost some of its original functions. Its current use is not sustainable in the context of climate change. According to preliminary data sustainable management of Baisogala site will help to reduce GHG emissions from drained peat soils by at least 100 t CO2 eq./year.
Based on the methodologies used in carbon credit certification schemes (MoorFutures, etc.), GHG emissions are estimated until 2050, when Europe should become the first climate-neutral continent to achieve zero net emissions. In 2050, 29 years will have passed since the restoration of the Baisogalia peatland, which is planned to be implemented in 2021. Thus, at least 2 900 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent will be saved during this period.
The project will also achieve other important goals - the restored peatland ecosystem will be able to provide ecosystem services lost due to drainage, such as maintaining biodiversity, improving the quality of water bodies (reduction of nitrogen loads by 45%) and thus reducing the eutrophication in the local river basins.
Project is financed by TAMM LtD (Germany) and Zero Waste 2020 festival (Lithuania).
II. Restoration of the south-western part of the Aukštumala Upland (2021 )
Duration: 31 March 2021 to 31 December 2021
The project is funded by
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.
• 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.
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 part of the wetland, which has been in operation since 1995. 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 that is favorable to wetland ecosystems will not only improve the condition of habitats of European Community importance, 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.
Moments of project implementation.
Jūratė Sendžikaitė and Nerijus Zableckis pictures