Posted on 30 July 2013
As the name suggests, Baltic bogs are bogs around the Baltic Sea. These natural bogs depend completely on precipitation for their nutrition, have high acidity and contain few or no nutrients. The result of this is that they are covered by a large quantity of rare and threatened plant species. These natural habitats are very uncommon in Europe.
However, they occur in Poland. A total of 80 Baltic bogs are registered in the north of the country. Currently 30 are being actively conserved and 23 of these are in Pomerania. These 23 bogs are all part of the Conservation of Baltic Raised Bogs in Pomerania Project. Unfortunately this project is necessary because the continued existence of the bogs is being threatened by human activity, with degradation as the result. Boggy soil is decomposing and conifers and birches are starting to grow, which causes evaporation of the bog water. Plant species such as cloudberry, sundew and sphagnum are also disappearing.
Naturalists Club, Pomerania Voivodship Office, Polish State Forest
The project is co-financed by:
- LIFE-Nature EU’s financial instrument
- The EcoFund Fundation
- GEF - Global Environment Facility
The main goal of the project is to find the right way to restore the bogs as well as possible and then to conserve them in order to prevent further degradation. A number of sub-goals have moreover been defined, for example:
- to stop the current drainage process and the subsequent drying out of peat bogs;
- to create awareness among the local population about the value of the bogs and the need to conserve them;
- to obtain knowledge that is lacking about the natural values, ecology and hydrology of all the individual bogs. As a result it will be possible to make targeted plans for the effective conservation of the bogs.
The project started in 2003 with support from various (European) funds. Measurements of water levels in different parts of the bogs are necessary for a number of project components. Initially this was done manually by local rangers. However, from the point of view of costs and because they produce reliable data, the first Divers® were purchased from Schlumberger Water Services to do this job in 2007. Since then over 250 Mini-Divers® and a large number of e+ WATER L® instruments have been used. Geomor-Technik, Eijkelkamp’s Polish distributor, saw to the supply and installation of the equipment. The instruments were put in direct wells (piezometers, ready for immediate use) that were driven into the peaty soil using a slide hammer. In some places, where the peat layer was too shallow, bailer boring equipment was used.
The Divers are covered with peat in order to prevent vandalism. A small piece of metal is attached to the cover so that they can be found. It is easy for authorised personnel to locate the piezometers using simple metal detectors and GPS equipment.
The project is still underway. The results that have already been achieved are on www.kp.org.pl/plbaltbogs (in Polish and English). It is expected that even more Divers will be used in a later stage of the project. This is a very clear sign that people are very pleased with the equipment that has been used.