Current peatland restoration projects for CO2 compensation.
Restoration of Baisogala peatland . More information about the project can be found here.
Restoration of Tartokas peatland. More information about restoration of Tartokas peatland can be found in the following chapter:
Restoration of hydrological conditions and maintenance of natural habitats in Tartokas peatland
Tartokas peatland (38 ha) is located in southern Lithuania, in the north-eastern part of Prienai city. Although the area is damaged by drainage and overgrown by reeds and bushes, it still retained the features of natural fen and alluvial meadows, therefore hosts rich biodiversity as well. 7230 Alkaline fens and 6450 Northern boreal alluvial meadows as habitats of European importance are valuable shelter for rare and protected plants and birds’ species as well. Protected species recorded in the territory of the Reserve: Fen orchid (Liparis loeselii), Brown bog-rush (Schoenus ferrugineus), Alpinebog swertia (Swertia perennis; recorded in 2002, but not found later), Common redshank (Tringa tetanus). Tartokas peatland is a part of Natura 2000 network (since 2009; Tartokas pelkė LTPRI0004), has a status of Telmological Reserve (since 2010; purpose of establishment – protection of alkaline fen habitat) and belongs to Nemunas Loops Regional Park.
For a long time, the good conservation status of protected habitats and rare species has been ensured by extensive management (mowing and grazing) of the area. However, during the recent decades the area was rarely and poorly managed, as a result open fen and alluvial meadow habitats gradually overgrown by shrubs and reeds and thus some natural values were lost. Nine-five year ago woody vegetation in eastern part of the protected area was cut down, but the hydrological regime was not restored and due to lack of proper management area started to overgrown again.
Moreover, the drainage system installed during the Soviet period, also has a negative impact on the status of habitats of the Reserve. Nature management actions implemented during the last decade had a positive effect on the Tartokas natural values, however these actions must be continued on the larger scale. Additional activities, such as drainage ditch blocking, shrub clearing, large scale extensive mowing, grazing and utilization of biomass would ensure favorable conservation status of the site. Restoration of the hydrological regime will have a positive effect on GHG emission balance and will stop decomposition of the dray peat layer. Restored hydrological regime will encourage the peat formation process again
The status of habitats of Tartokas peatland is closely related to hydrological conditions of the site. Extensive farming and proper management are vital for surviving of valuable fen habitats and alluvial meadows. The system of drainage ditches still operating in the peatland disturbs the hydrological regime of the site: spring flood water and rainfall are not retained in the peatland. This leads to decomposition of peat layer, increase of GHG emissions, overgrowing territory by bushes and losing of valuable open habitats and very specialized protected species. Without consistent appropriate management measures, these protected habitats and rare species may face a real risk of extinction in the area, as it has happened with Swertia perennis. For example, in the national Protection plan of Liparis loeselii (2017), as a species protected by Washington and Bern Conventions, EC Habitats Directive and the nationally, it is noted that due to deterioration of the habitat, Liparis loeselii individuals remain low viable, rarely bloom, poorly produce vital seeds and are characterized by high mortality (in some cases, individual mortality in populations can reach 52% per year and up to 97% over a five-year period).
To restore hydrological regime in Tartokas peatland, reduce GHG emissions from the area and maintain a favorable conservation status of protected habitats and rare species.
● to prepare all the necessary planning documents (management plan, hydrotechnical project);
● to carry out hydrological monitoring and evaluation of GHG emissions (based on GEST approach) before and after implementation of nature management actions;
● to implement the restoration of hydrological regime (rewetting) actions;
● to cut the woody vegetation and reedbeds;
● to ensure further maintenance (grazing and mowing at least in 20 ha) in the site by cooperating with Nemunas Loops Regional Park Administration, as representatives of State Service for Protected Areas, as well as local communities and farmers.
● prepared and approved planning documents;
● implemented rewetting actions creating favorable conditions for peat formation process;
● ensured a favorable conservation status for protected species and habitats;
● reduced GHG emissions by 50–60 t CO2 eq./year from ~20 ha of restored area.