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Restoration plan for Engure project site in Latvia developed

LIFE Peat Restore team (University of Latvia in collaboration with Lake Engure Nature Park Fund) has developed a site restoration plan for the project site in Lake Engure Nature Park. The nature park has a nature management plan for the period from 2011 to 2025; however, it does not include any actions for restoration of alkaline fens. Therefore, it was decided to prepare a special restoration plan for the LIFE Peat Restore project area. The plan contains detailed proposals for improvement of fen ecosystem and its functions, which would have a favourable impact also on species diversity and habitat condition.

In total the target area covered by the restoration plan is 238 hectares. It includes alkaline fens with peat-forming Schoenus ferrugineus, Cladium mariscus and Carex elata communities (65 hectares) and forests. The aim of the restoration actions in the project area is to ensure conservation of alkaline fen ecosystem and restoring its major functions – sequestration of carbon and water accumulation, as well as supporting fen-related biodiversity, including many rare species. The plan provides actions for hydrological restoration, restoring and maintaining open fen conditions, diminishing fragmentation of fen habitats, improving the condition of rare plant communities and rare species. The plan includes also a future perspective for after-LIFE period: low-intensity grazing by connecting the fen area to the existing pasture on the nearby lakeshore area. In the past, this species-rich fen area has been grazed by free-roaming cattle herds, thus it is considered a semi-natural ecosystem which cannot persist without regular management.

Development of restoration plan was contributed by representatives of JSC “Latvijas valsts meži” (Latvian State Forests) and Nature Conservation Agency who actively participated in stakeholder meetings and provided valuable comments. The project team thanks all contributors!

The plan is available here.

One of the ditches in Engure project site which drains the alkaline fen area. The ditch will be blocked within LIFE Peat Restore project, thus improving the hydrological conditions in the fen. Photo: A. Priede.