Restoring degraded peatlands in Słowiński National Park Poland, for natural habitats and peatlands ecosystem services reconstruction (project acronym: Peat Restore)

This projects aims to restore degraded peatlands in the Słowiński Park Narodowy (Słowiński National Park) situated on the Baltic coast of Poland. This area consists of raised bogs subjected to degradation by draining, afforestation and peat exploitation. In order to improve biodiversity and the resulting ecosystem services such as carbon storage, water retention and purification, measures including the blocking of artificial ditches at more than 200 locations and the improved conservation of existing bog vegetation will be implemented. Furthermore, areas destroyed by peat mining activities – the post-mining artificial water bodies – will be restored experimentally in order to initiate the development of peat-forming vegetation. These measures will help reduce the Nitrogen and Phosphorus outflow from degraded peatbogs into the Baltic Sea along with preserve carbon storage in peatlands, thereby improving the conservation status of nearly 500 ha of Natura 2000 natural habitats.

Situation and Background

Draining and afforestation from the 19th and 20th Century have led to the degradation of three former raised bogs (approx. 1350 ha in total) situated in the Słowiński National Park, Poland. This area is currently covered by damaged bog forest, with small fragments of the typical mire vegetation. Furthermore, draining ditches, which are remnants of 19th Century draining activities, are still active, promoting water outflow into the Baltic Sea. The decomposition of dried peat releases CO2 into the atmosphere, along with dissolved carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus that flow into the Łebsko coastal lagoon, which is directly connected to the Baltic Sea. Excavation of peat in the southeast areas of the Park was also undertaken in the past. Currently, the artificial water basins created by former peat mining (approx. 30 ha) that are part of the National Park are in need of restoration in order to foster peat-forming vegetation and improve ecosystem services.

Project activities and effects

Project Goal:

  • Demonstrative restoration of peatlands in the Słowiński National Park by stopping water outflow from artificial ditches, reducing peat decomposition (which consequently reduces CO2 emissions, and dissolved carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus outflow through water), and initiating peat-forming vegetation in post-mining areas.

Objectives: 

  • To improve the water conditions of 1350 ha of peatland by stopping water outflow, and restoring or improving mire or bog forests habitats, thereby conserving approx. 37 mln Mg CO2 by preventing peatland degradation
  • To stop or reduce the outflow of dissolved carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus through water from degraded peatlands
  • To maintain and restore 60 ha of the most valuable open peat-forming vegetation
  • To initiate peat forming vegetation on approx. 30 ha of artificial peat-mining water basins
  • To improve public awareness on the ecological services of peatlands and to exchange knowledge with southern Baltic countries on mire habitat conservation and the restoration of associated ecosystem services
  • To contribute to the coherent message from all southern-Baltic states (DE, PL, LT, LV, EE)
  • To put the peatlands ecological services (carbon storage, water retention, preventing water pollution and eutrophication, biodiversity support) on the political agenda in DE, PL, LT, LV, EE
  • To express and accent the coherence of these services, with special emphasis on the co-relation between biodiversity and other services

Activities:

  • Peatbog restoration measures (e.g. blocking ditches, removal of trees
  • Monitoring and assessment of results
  • Testing innovative methods for the initiation of peat forming vegetation after peat mining
  • Compiling recommendations for experts and stakeholders on mire management “with practical demonstration”
  • Assessing socioeconomic benefits
  • Communicating with relevant stakeholders through reports, publications and meetings
  • Improving collaboration and knowledge exchange between Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia
  • Policy lobbying through preparation of an “After-project plan”

Beneficiary

Klub Przyrodników (Naturalists’ Club Poland)

Partners

The project is a part of a bigger international LIFE project implemented in all Southern Baltic regions: DE, PL, LT, LV and EE by 9 partners. The main partners of the project are:

  • NABU (Germany) – coordinator of international cooperation;
  • Lithuanian Fund for Nature, University of Tallinn, University of Latvia, Riga – Other countries experience providers
  • Slowinski National Park – project landowner

Project region 

Poland, Pomorskie Region

Project duration 

2017-01-01 – 2021-06-30

Budget

total project budget: €1.407.565
funding baltfc: € 318.227

Contact

Naturalists’ Club Poland Website

Links

Peat Restore Project Website of the Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union in Germany (NABU)

Karte Peat

Proposed project location in Slowinski National Park. Direction of water outflow (incl. nitrogen, phosphorus and dissolved carbon from degraded peatlands) indicated by blue arrows. CO2 from degraded peatlands is emitted to the atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bild Peta 1

Open bog stil providing ecosystem services. Fot. Pawel Pawlaczyk

 

Bild Peat 3

The water basin created after peat excavation. Fot. Pawel Pawlaczyk

 

Bild Peat 2

Drained and degraded forest on the peat. Fot. Pawel Pawlaczyk