On the beginning of October European Wilderness Society travelled to Czech Republic to:
- get acquainted with different Wetlands restoration practices
- present ALFAwetlands project
- establish new contacts and discuss further cooperation.
It was very beneficial to interact with various experts and to see areas, where diverse wetlands restoration practices were applied. And in addition it was really great opportunity to meet international group of different experts, involved into wetlands restoration, research, education and communication.
The Study tour was organised by the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic in cooperation with the Carpathian Wetlands Initiative and experts of the Centre for Theoretical Studies, Charles University. Major part of the restoration activities presented, were conducted on the territory of Šumava National Park.
During the intensive week participants were able to visit:
- restored springs and streams in wet sloping grasslands
- restored wet forests and streams
- restored drained bog etc.
In addition, participants joint excursion and discussed wetland management and establishment of the new wetland habitats in the area of the defunct pond. They also visited Natura 2000 sites, Božídarské peatland, Pernink and walked through the wetlands inclusive interpretation trail.
National park Šumava
Hospitality, beauty and biodiversity of the National Park Šumava positively impressed participants. They were able to enter several of its visitor centres, meet dedicated team, discuss management practices, interaction with the stakeholders and see park´s fascinating landscapes and habitats.
Šumava National Park is also called Bohemian Forest National Park. It is located in the South Bohemian region of the Czech Republic and borders with Austria and Germany. The Park is also running various international projects, one of which is LIFE for Mires.
LIFE for Mires
Administration of Šumava National Park is the Leader of the Transboundary project on restoration of mires for biodiversity and landscape hydrology in Šumava and Bavarian Forest. In short the project is called LIFE for Mires. Project partners are convinced, that the restoration of wetland habitats is one of the potential ways to mitigate the consequences of climatic change.
Many wetlands, primarily the peat bogs in Šumava (Bohemian Forest), are islands of biological diversity, where countless numbers of rare plant and animal species live in their natural environment. Wetlands play an irreplaceable role in the landscape hydrology and the water cycle, having favourable effects on the local climate.
Majority of projects sites were heavily exploited in the past. Therefore their restoration is critically important. These restoration activities are part of the Life for Mires project. And Park can already share many success stories!
Synergies with ALFAwetlands
ALFAwetlands is the Horizon international research project, funded by the EU. Among other it includes development of best practices for restoring European peatlands and floodplains via literature meta-review, needs for accurate data for restoration. In addition, this ALFAwetlands activity will consider expert knowledge, other existing decision support information for synthesising practical guidance for planning and design of wetland restoration projects, implementing measures, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on post-implementation maintenance. Therefore, such study tours are very important for experience exchange.
We are organising such international study tours on the regular basis and continuously observing high interest towards them.
Libuše Vlasáková, Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic