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NAT-PROGRAMME experts have begun mire restoration activities.
Are there many calcareous fens in Latvia? An evaluation of habitats of EU significance done by the Latvian Fund for Nature (2013) indicates that there are only about 900 ha (or 0,014 % of Latvia’s territorry) of calcareous fens in Latvia. And only a part of them have the Natura 2000 status - only about 840 ha. These fens are often isolated, and are located  rather far one from another. Yet, they are a habitat for many rare species that have to try to survive in these difficult conditions. Such species include the brown Bog-rush (Schoenus ferrugineus L.), common butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris), many orchids, bird’s-eye primrose (Primula farinosa) and Geyer’s whorl-snail (Vertigo geyeri Lindholm).
The majority of bogs and fens in Latvia, including calcareous fens, are greatly influenced by human activity, for example,  they are turned into agricultural lands. Calcareous fens used to be grazed and mowed because there was a lack of dry grasslands and pastures. However, nowadays calcareous fens have been severely affected by draining, they are overgwoing with shrubs - the dryer the fen, the faster it overgrows, which leads to a decrease in the diversity of species that can only live in open mire areas. Typically calcareous fens are rich with various orchid, sedge and moss species. However, currently in several areas there are signs of degradation - the emergence of competing species, such as reeds and purple Moor-grass, that are outcompeting weaker species. It has been observed that the expansion of Moor-grass contributes to the overgrowth of fens with trees. Therefore, project NAT-PROGRAMME is seeking fot the most effective ways to manage mires.
Although there is vast experience in restoration of raised bogs in Latvia, little has been done to manage calcareous fens or such actions have not been documented. Currently restoration activities have started in sample plots in two national parks – NP Ķemeri and NP Slītere. Actions include cutting of trees and shrubs, mowing with and without removing the cut grass and other management methods. Every year the effectiveness (particularly regarding the extent to which the diversity of species has improved) of these actions will be evaluated. The knowledge gained from evaluating these activities will be used for recommendations included in the habitat management guidelines.
      Mire area near Kaņieris lake.Summer, 2013.                           Mire area near Kaņieris lake. Autumn, 2013.

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