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Two depleted peatlands are successfully renaturalised in the Vitebsk Region by UNDP/GEF project

At the beginning of December 2009 the UNDP/GEF project “Renaturalization and Sustainable Management of Peatlands in Belarus to Combat Land Degradation, Ensure Conservation of Globally Valuable Biodiversity and Mitigate Climate Change” has completed works on renaturalisation and stabilisation of the hydrological regime at depleted peatland “Osinovskoye–1” (2131 ha) in the Dubrovensky District, Vitebsk Region. One month earlier construction works have been completed at “Osinovskoye–1” peatland (1189,3 ha).

Both territories are the part of the degraded raised bog Osinovskoye. Depleted peatlands became the 11th and 12th territories, which have been renaturalised in the framework of the UNDP/GEF “Peatlands” project since 2007. 

In order to rise and stabilise water level at “Osinovskoye–1”, the project closed drain ditches with soil dams of two types and stoplog gate, which prevent outflow of water from the mire and maintain its optimal level. More than 40 water–regulating facilities, including soil and walled dams, stoplog gate were constructed at “Osinovskoye–2”.

According to Alexander Kozulin, UNDP/GEF “Peatlands” Scientific Co–ordinator, it is expected that in the result of renaturalisation activities the rehabilitation of mire landscape will take place at the major part of the territory. Mire formation processes will start again with appearing of mire vegetation, peat–forming plants. Reafforestation processes will be activated at raised sites of the mire.

– This will lead, – continues Mr. Kozulin, to the increase of mire animals and birds species composition. Both re–wetted sites are habitat for a big group of rare birds, included into the Red Book of the Republicof Belarus: common kestrel, bittern, greater spotted eagle, black stork, osprey, grey stork and some other.

After intensive peat extraction, which started at “Osinovskiye” as early as in 1918, depleted peat fields continued to be drained by system of ditches. This became the key reason of frequent fires and, as consequence, of major emissions of CO2into the atmosphere. The rise of ground water level is aimed to solve this problem as well.

Re–wetting of the depleted territories of the peat field will also allow to restore their hydrological functioning. After the completion of works the facilities were rendered to the Orsha Experimental Forestry.

For further information, please, contact Alexei Tchistodarski, UNDP–GEF Projects Information Officer by tel. in Minsk+375 (017) 294 90 69, GSM +375 (29) 656 15 30.

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