About the Project “LIFE Mires of Estonia”

Project objectives

  1. To secure the most favourable conservation status for wetlands, especially mires and priority habitats protected under EU Habitats Directive – Active raised bogs (7110*),  Bog woodland (91D0*), and Fennoscandian deciduous swamp woods (9080*). In addition, project will affect protection and management of other habitats as well as species related to the habitats protected also by EU Habitats Directive and Bird Directive: Natural dystrophic lakes and ponds (3160), Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation (3260), Northern boreal alluvial meadows (6450), transition mires and quaking bogs (7140), Alkaline fens (7230), Fennoscandian herb-rich forests with Picea abies (9050), and Western Taiga (9010*); birds Tetrao urogallus and Lagopus lagopus, amphibian Rana arvalis, and semi-aquatic invertebrates Leucorrhinia dragonflies.
  2. To stop degradation of habitats caused by drainage and regenerate favourable conditions for development of natural hydrology in following sites: Alam-Pedja (Soosaare mire), Agusalu (Feodorisoo mire), Ohepalu, Tudusoo and Sirtsi Nature Conservation Areas, and Lahemaa National Park (Laukasoo mire). Restoration is aiming for improvement of conditions of several species, also. Restoration area affects app. 5800 ha of mires of which 3450 ha are Natura 2000 priority habitats (7110*, 91D0*, 9080*, 9010*), it is expected to close app. 240 km of drainage ditches and restore mire habitats in 50 ha of abandoned peat mining fields located in nature conservation areas.
  3. Present project results on national and international scale in order to share, spread and gain knowledge regarding restoration and management of mire habitats.
  4. Raising public awareness regionally to influence the local inhabitant’s attitude towards safeguarding of internationally valuable wetlands, and improve understanding of current nature conservation issues, habitats of EU importance and Natura 2000 network.
  5. Development of a methodology and guidelines for restoration of degraded mire habitats sites concurrently supporting T. urogallus, R. arvalis, and Leucorrhinia populations.
  6. Involvment of volunteers to mire restoration activities.


Expected results

  1. Significant and sustained improvement of conditions of the EU priority habitats Active raised bog habitats (7110*; restored area estimated 2447.2 ha),  Bog woodland (91D0*; 567.8 ha), Fennoscandian deciduous swamp woods (9080*, 159.0 ha), and Western taiga (9010*; 276.2 ha). In addition, restoration activities aim to improve conditions of Transition mires and quaking bogs (7140), Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration (7120), Natural dystrophic lakes and ponds (3160), Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation (3260), Northern boreal alluvial meadows (6450), Alkaline fens (7230), and bird species Tetrao urogallus, Lagopus lagopus, amphibian Rana arvalis, and Leucorrhinia dragonflies (also protected by EU Habitats and Bird Directives). Restoration area affects app. 5800 ha mires covering 3610.7 ha of Natura 2000 habitats (including 3450.3 ha of priority habitats).
  2. Conditions sustained for T. urogallus, L. lagopus, amphibian R. arvalis, and Leucorrhinia dragonflies populations. Methodology developed to reduce potential negative impacts to these species due to restoration activities, e.g. removal of trees or sudden closure of drainage ditches. Therefore dynamic spatial planning approach will be elaborated in order to balance the restoration benefits and risks, and eventually ensure that restoration activities create quality habitats for various species. The project is innovative in combining the central concepts of favourable conservation status and precautionary principle. In this respect, special guidelines fro restoration planning will be prepared.
  3. Involvement of volunteers into management actions and thus, creating better understanding and commitment for nature conservation efforts in Estonia (50 volunteer camps, app. 500 participants).
  4. Public events to introduce restoration activities, study days for schoolchildren and teachers, establishment of LIFE trail are expected to inform around 90 000 persons about Natura 2000 habitats, their values and restoration efforts in Estonia.
  5. Materials made available at project homepage will raise awareness about the value of priority habitats and the need of their conservation and restoration. 20 000 persons reached.
  6. It is expected that the project will make a significant contribution to the further management and restoration of EU priority habitats in Estonia and other EU countries.

Duration: 01/09/2015 – 31/12/2021

Budget information:

Total amount: 2,815,576 €

EC Co-funding: 74.61%

Co-financer: Estonian Environmental Investment Centre

Project “Conservation and Restoration of Mire Habitats” (LIFE Mires Estonia; project no: LIFE14 NAT/EE/000126) is implemented with the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community