RMK restored a record number of meadow habitats on state land 11.03
In 2019, meadows and pastures were restored on state land on 554 hectares and swamp habitats on 1422 hectares. In total, RMK spent EUR 6 million on nature protection works, which is about EUR 1 million more than a year ago.‘Some species need a living environment that is untouched by human activities, others prefer to live in semi-natural biotic communities that have emerged as a result of people and other species living together. By restoring swamps, we reduce the impact of previous human activities, i.e. swamp drainage and peat extraction. However, by restoring and maintaining wooded meadows, we increase human impact in order to enhance the biodiversity that is characteristic of semi-natural biotic communities,’ said Kaupo Kohv, Head of the RMK Nature Conservation Department, while explaining the necessity of the works.
In total, RMK restored endangered habitats on about 2000 hectares in 2019, of which meadow habitats constituted 554 hectares and swamp habitats 1422 hectares. While nature protection works in 2018 cost EUR 4.89 million, the number increased to EUR 5.82 million last year due to an increase in the volume of works.
According to Kaupo Kohv, more extensive restoration works of swamp habitats were organised in Pärnu County, at the Luitemaa Nature Conservation Area, the Maarjapeakse Bog (539 ha) and at the Öördi and Kikepera bogs in Soomaa National Park (484 ha).
‘The wider public has more likely noticed the works that were performed at the Viru Bog, where the drainage systems were closed right next to one of Estonia’s most visited boardwalks. For a few days, the water even rose above the boardwalk, with one dam having to be removed very quickly and the height of boardwalk having to be raised. During the meadow restoration works in Kõruse, Saaremaa, an interesting thing happened when World War II projectile fuses started exploding when the cutting waste was being burned,’ Kohv remembered.
The drainage systems at the Viru Bog were shut down right next to one of Estonia’s most visited boardwalks. For a few days, the water even rose above the boardwalk, with one dam having to be removed very quickly and the height of boardwalk having to be raised. Photo: Harti Paimets
Last year, the area of semi-natural biotic communities rented to enterprises also increased; for the first time, the number of rented areas exceeded 24,000 hectares.
Specific species-protection works contributed to the improvement of the habitat status of 20 endangered and rare species, e.g. in Korunõmme, Saaremaa, growth conditions were created for red helleborine and important open coastal landscapes were restored for natterjack toads at Harilaid.
RMK shall continue with nature protection works this year. For instance, by the end of the year, Tolkuse Bog (about 1000 ha) shall be restored, with the result being visible when walking on the hiking trail. If everything goes according to plan, at least 5000 hectares of rare and endangered swamp, meadow and forest habitats will be restored by the end of 2020. You can read more on the performed works and new challenges from the RMK nature blog.
RMK Development Plan 2015–2020 aims to restore endangered or low quality habitats on up to 10,000 hectares. Since 2015, RMK has restored habitats on a total of 9200 hectares.
Head of the RMK Nature Conservation Department