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Project of the month

#01/2020 Optimization of a degraded raised bog
Debushing and rewetting of an area in the SAC ‘Emsdettener Venn’


The worked area in the southwestern part of the ‚Emsdettener Venns‘ in aerial view – the marked raised bog area owned by the district of Steinfurt and the adjacent former pathway were optimized. © Dr. Peter Schwartze, Biologische Station Kreis Steinfurt

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The nature reserve ‘Emsdettener Venn’ (ST-047) has a size of approximately 340 hectares and became a nature reserve in 1941. Extending west of the City of Emsdetten, it represents the remains of a formerly intact raised bog and is one of the oldest nature reserves in the district of Steinfurt. Due to peat cutting and drainage in the past centuries, large parts have fallen dry. In 2004, the nature reserve has been designated together with the adjacent nature reserve ‘Wiesen am Max-Clemens-Kanal’ as SAC ‘Emsdettener Venn und Wiesen am Max-Clemens-Kanal’ (DE-3810-301) according to the European Union’s Habitat Directive. It is a former raised bog area of statewide importance which is particularly deserving protection due to the remaining areas with typical raised bog vegetation and populations of birch bog forest. In addition, transition mires and quaking bogs as well as wet and dry heaths are well developed. Numerous endangered plant and wildlife bog species can be found here, including some of the target species of the LIFE IP, such as the yellow-spotted whiteface (Leucorrhinia pectoralis) and the moor frog (Rana arvalis). The endangered marsh St.-John's-wort (Hypericum elodes) grows in this area, as well as long-leaved and round-leaved sundew (Drosera intermedia and Drosera rotundifolia respecitively), bog-rosemary (Andromeda polifolia), hare's-tail cottongrass and common cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum and Eriophorum angustifolium respectively). The bog and heath area as well as the surrounding wet grassland are breeding and resting areas for numerous endangered bird species such as common snipe (Gallinago gallinago), black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) and Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata). Northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), common teal (Anas crecca), northern shoveler (Anas clypeata), Western marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus), European stonechat (Saxicola rubicola) and little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) are regular breeding birds in the ‘Emsdettener Venn’.

The action which was implemented as part of the LIFE IP Atlantic Region DE from October to November 2019 in cooperation with the Biological Station of the district of Steinfurt and the Lower Nature Conservation Authority of the District of Steinfurt focussed on a raised bog area with various sphagnum species and dominating purple moor grass in the southwestern part of the core area. It was overgrown with bushes and moor birch and alder buckthorn prevented the development of typical raised bog species there. In order to optimize the site conditions (water and light) for the expansion of typical raised bog plant species, the birches and alder buckthorn had to be removed and ditches to the south had to be filled to stabilize the water level.

With these debushing and rewetting measure it was possible to develop an area of around one hectare into habitat type 7120. The action also promoted the development of adjacent areas, some of which already had been classifies as this habitat type, but in poor condition. In addition, it is very likely that the focus species which occur in the area, the yellow-spotted whiteface and the moor frog, as well as numerous species of the European Birds Directive such as the common teal, will benefit from the measures taken.

Regular further debushing activities in the core area of the raised bog of the ‘Emsdettener Venn’ will be awarded by the district of Steinfurt to companies or associations (Heimatbund Emsdetten, NABU) with financial support from the state (e.g. through the state program FöNa). The local heritage association is very active in this area with a lot of volunteer work. Any further optimization shall be carried out using other financing instruments (EAFRD, ERDF and maybe also LIFE).


The area along the former pathway before the start of the action (view from B to A in the aerial photo) © Dr. Peter Schwartze, Biologische Station Kreis Steinfurt

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