Restoration of peatlands in Central Russia

Restoration of peatlands in Central Russia
Photo by A. L. Mishchenko

Peatlands are one of the key and most common types of wetlands. They have a significant impact on the formation of river flow, the interaction of surface and underground waters, and have water protection and water regulation significance. Peatlands and marshes represent a wide range of bird habitats and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.

Large-scale drainage in Central Russia took place in the 1920s -1980s. Large area of peatlands were drained to extract peat, obtain new agricultural land, and improve the quality of the forest growing in the swamp. Currently, many drained peatlands have been abandoned by humans and have become dangerous sources of fire. These peatlands need to be rewetted.

In the conditions of economically developed and densely populated Moscow region, the conservation and restoration of peatland ecosystems, which are the basis of the ecological framework of the territory, is of great importance for the conservation of many species of rare birds. According to our data, 37 species of birds (54%) listed in the Red Data Book of the Moscow region breed or feed on waterlogged areas of former peat extraction.

In 2010, BirdsRussia, thanks to the support of Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung and NABU started to restore disturbed peatlands in several places that are particularly important for birds in the Moscow, Novgorod and Ivanovo regions.

Main objectives of the project are:

•         rewetting and restoration of raised bogs and fens disturbed by humans;

•         reducing the risk of spring fires and reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere;

•         maintenance of waterbird populations;

•         conservation and maintenance of nesting habitats of flagship bird species: Greater Spotted Eagle, Common Crane etc.

•         monitoring of rare bird species;

•         informing people about the programs for rewetting and restoration of drained peatlands.

In order to retain water in the woodlands in the north of Moscow region, we have built more than 20 dams on drainage channels and ditches. In 2010-2019, about 1300 ha of disturbed fire-dangerous peatlands were rewetted. In the flooded areas, water vegetation was restored, and new nesting and feeding habitats were formed for waterbirds. There are appeared new places for stops of waterfowl during migrations. Annual monitoring of water level, restoration of mire vegetation and rare animal species is conducted.

In addition to works on rewetting of disturbed peatlands, as a result of the support of German colleagues an educational environmental center was built in Dmitrovka village in the local nature reserve “Crane homeland”. The created ecocenter is a joint base of BirdsRussia and the reserve, allowing to conduct lessons with children, student practices, small conferences, environmental trainings, refresher courses. This is the first ecocenter in Russia where education and raising awareness of the population of rewetting over-drained areas, restoration of peatbogs, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and biodiversity conservation will be purposefully developed.

What is happening in the BirdsRussia ecocenter you can learn at the separate news feed.

Olga Grinchenko and Alexander Mischenko

     Gallinule — photo by A.L. Mishchenko

Supported by:
Manfred Hermsen Stiffung2 _JPEG.jpgNABU JPEG.jpg
Администрация Воскресенского района Моск обл JPEG.jpg

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