RMK and their German partners join forces to restore Leidissoo 07.06

The PlanBe Foundation operating in Germany, the Michael Succow Foundation and the State Forest Management Centre signed a contract on 14 May to launch an extensive restoration project in Leidissoo, northwest Estonia.

The PlanBe Foundation finances the project, the Michael Succow Foundation (MSF) monitors and technically plans the restoration works and the State Forest Management Centre (RMK) is responsible for conducting the work.

The restoration works will be completed on a 809-hectare large area where the natural bog has been dried for the purposes of agriculture and forestry. The shutdown of the drainage systems is estimated to impact 4000-5000 hectares of damaged wetlands.

“The shutdown of drainage canals increases the water level and, through that, stops the decay of peat and the emergence of greenhouse gasses,” Kaupo Kohv, the Head of RMK’s Nature Protection Department, explains the impact of the restoration works.

Leidissoo belongs to the European-wide nature protection areas network Natura 2000 and the restoration of natural habitat types improves the quality of habitats of the plants and animals on that area. Comprehensive technical planning precedes the restoration works. Real restoration works in bogs (shutdown of ditches, etc.) will begin in 2023 and go on until 2026.

MSF plans to compare the restoration methods in bogs of Leidissoo and northeastern Germany and to share experiences about the best restoration practices. These projects are an important step towards extensive restoration of the mire community for the entirety of Europe.
The representative of MSF, Andreas Haberl, notes that the restoration of peatlands and extending the protection areas to decrease the carbon dioxide emissions in now drained bogs. For this, we shall first work out a good practice for restoration and adapt the relevant political framework for the land users and owners to apply it.

MSF and PlanBe are pioneers in the international private sector of financed restorations of bogs to achieve the aims of alleviating the climate changes. In Baltic states with hundreds of thousands of hectares of dried peatlands, this cooperation might serve as a model for supporting the state’s activity to decrease the emissions with a contribution from the private sector.

“The importance and exclusivity of this project is that this is our first extensive restoration work of habitats that is sponsored by a private investor, including relevant competencies from Estonia as well as abroad,” Kristjan Tõnisson, Member of RMK’s Management Board, notes.

RMK completes the most nature preservation work in Estonia and with its partners has restored over 17,000 hectares of bogs and semi-natural communities over the last five years.

Kristjan Tõnisson, Member of RMK’s Management Board and Kaupo Kohv, Head of RMK’s Nature Protection Department, explain how to raise the water level on the drained areas of Leidissoo.

Joint picture in the naturally preserved region of Leidissoo; from left to right, Mihkel Järveoja (RMK), Mati Ilomets (Tallinn University), Ants Animägi (RMK), Michael Bellwinkel (PlanBe), Kaupo Kohv (RMK) ja Kristjan Tõnisson (RMK).

The official signing of the restoration work contract of Leidissoo, from left to right on the photograph: Andreas Haberl (MSF), Kristjan Tõnisson (RMK) ja Michael Bellwinkel (PlanBe).

Photos: RMK

Further information:
Kaupo Kohv
Head of RMK’s Nature Protection Department
+372 5349 7924