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Towards Flourishing Peatlands in Finland – Hydrology LIFE Project Safeguards Globally Threatened Wetlands

Last week in Finland we celebrated the Finnish Nature Day in many ways. This week we want to raise awareness for safeguarding the precious peatlands. Trip to a mire in cooling weather, landscape painted with colorful leaves, scent of ripening cranberries in the air give a clue that the autumn and winter are near. At summertime our wetlands are buzzing with life, or they use to be.

Big birds with wide wings and long feet flying over a mire.

Finnish mire too are undergoing extensive exploitation. Peatland drainage actions starting from the 1950´s have harmed and changed 54 % of our peatlands. It has led to a situation where every ninth species in Finland is threatened. The highest proportion can be found among birds and bryophytes (mosses). The trend goes around the globe: wetlands are the most threatened habitats in the world. No one of us survives without clean water, so it is time to roll up one´s sleeves and restore as many of the wetlands as one can. Peatlands offer so many benefits for us all that it is worthwhile to work for retaining functional and natural state wetlands!

Hydrology LIFE is one of the most important and effective projects for improving the status of peatlands and headwaters in Europe. We restore peatlands in over 100 Natura 2000 sites across Finland.

– Together with about 200 professional we are working to tackle the biodiversity loss and climate change. Our large and diverse project not only helps restoring wetlands but we also come up with new initiatives and an operating model for rewetting the dried-out protected peatlands. We also provide invaluable new data of the effects of the restoration for example to endangered bats. All actions aim to preserve the biodiversity, improve water quality and to slow down the climate change, says project manager Eerika Tapio, Parks and Wildlife Finland.

– To mention a few of our 34 actions, we improve the habitat quality of 11 valuable habitats (6,600 hectares) and restore a 34 km of degraded streams and 14 ponds. In the landscape scale, our actions not only improve the water quality and help in flood risk management, but they are also tackling the global issues.

Healthy Peatlands, Healthy Earth

Hydrology LIFE project joins with great joy the global peatland partnership to highlight the amazing peatlands and the restoration work that is done across the world. The UN and the upcoming COP26 want to unite people to fight together for a healthier globe. We only have one, and we need to do all we can to safeguard its nature.

– The peatlands restoration work that Hydrology Life has been doing across Finland not only benefits the EU, but also has great benefit for the world. Migratory cranes and other threatened and endangered birds are reaping the benefits as the project pays special attention to their habitat needs – an excellent example to follow! Biodiversity conservation is also advanced through ecosystem diversity – and we know that the world needs more of these triple win approaches to tackle the nature, climate and pollution crises! says Dianna Kopansky, Programme Management Officer & Global Peatlands Coordinator, UN Environment Programme.

Whilst the autumn colors slowly catch up the forest on the edge of the mires, migrating cranes can be seen flying above us in V-shape leaving the wintry landscape of Finland. While cranes dance along in southern conditions mire restoration continues throughout the winter in Finland. Ditches will be filled, small streams returned to their old routes and we will take care of bird lakes. When the migratory birds return with the light of spring the habitats will be thriving!

More information

Hydrologia-LIFE, Life, Natura 2000.

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