RMK will restore more than 3000 hectares of bogs this year 16.12

As a result of the restoration works, the drained lands and former peat mining areas will be turned back into bogs.

"We are restoring bogs because they are home to many rare species, such as orchids, willow ptarmigans and golden eagles,” explained Kaupo Kohv, Head of RMK's Nature Conservation Department. “Bogs also ensure a stable water supply and quality whilst reducing the land’s fire risk. In addition, swamps are one of the most efficient carbon storage ecosystems on land, but only as long as they are saturated with water.”

This year, RMK will have finished restoration works in nine bogs and in a former peat mining area, on a total area of 3217 hectares. The largest of the aforementioned bogs are in the Kikepera nature reserve – Saessaare bog (1095 ha) and Kauni bog (584 ha). Last year, restoration work was completed in the Kikepera bog in Soomaa national park and the work finished this year can be seen as a continuation of the work done in the historic Kikepera bog.

"In terms of landscape, this is a large-scale undertaking through which the impact of drainage has been reduced in the most valuable parts of the former large Kikepera bog," said Priit Voolaid, RMK's Nature Conservation Manager. According to him, the map of the Land Board in the 1950s shows how wide the bog was at that time and how wet the area was.

According to Voolaid, the restoration work involves reversing what man once did to drain the bogs – closing the ditches so that the water can rise to ground level in dry areas. The aim of the works is not to restore the bogs to the exact state that they were in before but to create the conditions for their further development.

In some cases, when restoring bogs, it is necessary to cut down the dense forest that has grown there as a result of drainage. Trees use a lot of water to grow in summer and prevent light from reaching the ground but the bog needs a lot of water and light to recover.
In order to speed up recovery, peat moss has been spread in the former peat mining areas – this year it was done in Ess-soo in Võru County and last year in Maima bog in Pärnu County.

Ess-soo is also one of the largest bogs in which restoration work was finished this year, on a total of 158 hectares.

Restoration works will also be finished this year in the Keretü bog in Võru County (491 ha), in the Rongu bog in Pärnu County (333 ha), in the Paadrema lowland bog (225 ha) and in the eastern edge of Selisoo in Ida-Viru County (171 ha).

"Now all that is left is to let nature do its work in the restored areas,” said Voolaid. “With the help of scientists, we are also monitoring which restored ditch closure solutions are most effective in restoring the water systems in the bogs.”

In the past ten years, RMK has restored nearly 17,000 hectares of bog ecosystems, with no signs of the workload decreasing in the following years. RMK is the biggest nature conservation operator in Estonia.

Further information:
Priit Voolaid
The State Forest Management Centre’s Nature Protection Specialist
+372 5681 0925