Neman basin is the 4th biggest catchment in the Baltic, with high concentrations of nutrients, occurring in different parts of the basin. The pollutants are transported to the Baltic Sea and causing eutrophication. The DESIRE project focuses on numerous disturbed peatlands in the region aiming to restore pilot sites as wetland buffer zones and at the same time initiating active usage of such sites, e.g. start paludiculture activities, to remove additional nutrients from the sites and create additional benefits like habitat for biodiversity and climate change mitigation.

The project focuses on the sites within the Zuvintas UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and its buffer zones (14 199 ha). The Reserve, being located in the depression of Zuvintas lake with adjacent numerous wetlands, is highly impacted by surrounding intensive agricultural fields, and other human activities, e.g aquaculture (fish ponds). The measures for reduction of nutrient inflow reduction were foreseen in the management and restoration plan of Natura 2000 sites in the Dovine river basin. The project targets two pilot sites: the upstream valley of channelized Dovine river and polder meadows close to Amalvas lake. In both cases, the measures, which will enable flooding and stopping water in the meadows, are foreseen in the management plan, and later included into the planning scheme of Zuvintas Biosphere Reserve, or other lower level documents, e.g. agreements with local authority.

Further usages in paludiculture of the sites will be discussed with land owners and users finding most optimal solutions for management.

Project Goal:

  • To increase efficiency of peatlands management for reduced nutrients loads from the catchment to the Neman river waters and to the Baltic Sea.
  • Prepare planning documentation and permissions for rewetting
  • Elaborate plans for paludiculture and utilization of biomass harvested in the pilot sites
  • Develop and disseminate guidelines for rewetting and paludiculture
  • Implement rewetting of approx. 5 ha of sites on degraded peatlands
  • Develop knowledge transfer concept to inform interested parties



Lithuanian Fund for Nature


  • Greifswald University (DE)
  • Michael Succow Foundation (DE)
  • Aleksandras Stulginskis University (LT)

Project region 


Project duration 

2018-12-01 – 2021-09-30


total project budget: €212,228.70
funding BaltCF: €31,515.96