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Peatlands Restoration Project Demonstrates the First Results

The first practical results of hydrological regime restoration by the example of depleted peatland “Bartenikha” have been presented during field workshop “Methods of Hydrological Regime Restoration at Depleted Peatlands” which was held on June, 20 interms of UNDP–GEF project.

The project site “Bartenikha” being in charge of Volozhin forestry, Minskregion, is among the first sites rehabilitated in the frame of the project “Renaturalization and Sustainable Management of Peatlands in Belarusto Combat Land Degradation, Ensure Conservation of Globally Valuable Biodiversity and Mitigate Climate Change”. The participants of the workshop – representatives of Ministry of Forestry of Belarusand forestries (owners of the project sites) and mass media were presented the different types of water regulating facilities, described their operating principles and justification of restoration of depleted peatlands.

“Hydrological regime rehabilitation at the project site “Bartenikha” has led to the visible positive results, – says Ms. Olga Chabrovskaya, the Project Manager. – Before restoration the site has been like a drained “peat desert” but now the real restoration result is obvious: the water level is getting to the ground level and being steady even through the summer. In this respect the risk of peat fires at the project site is minimal.

The rising water level, up to the soil level has led to enlargement of typical mire vegetation. Cotton Grass, Reed are being covering restored project site, habitat of different kinds of sedge and moss is gradually increasing. The rising water level conduced to decrease peat mineralization and CO2 emission.

“Rewetting is of great importance for biodiversity of the region, – a scientific coordinator of the project Mr. Alexander Kozulin points out. – During the first year after rising water levels, different species of birds such as gray crane, snipe, plover, marsh harrier, lesser spotted eagle, crake and sedge warbler have already appeared at the site. Even now the area is of great importance as a feeding ground for animals: wild boar, elk and roe.

For reference: The project of the UNDP, Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the Ministry of Forestry of Belarus “Renaturalization and Sustainable Management of Peatlands in Belarus to Combat Land Degradation, Ensure Conservation of Globally Valuable Biodiversity and Mitigate Climate Change” aims to restore wetland ecosystem of 17 drained and degraded peatlands with a total area of over 40 000 ha, to reduce the incidence of peatlands fires, to create conditions for flora and fauna restoration. In the frame of the project 4 depleted peatlands are already restored, rehabilitation of the 5th mire is planed to finish by the end of June 2008.

For additional information please contact Information Specialist of the project, Elena Goloubovskaya, at 294–90–69, or UNDP Communications Associate, Vladislav Khilkevich, at 227–38–17, e–mail:.

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