Lahemaa National Park, Laukasoo mire

 Lahemaa National Park is a park located on Northern Estonia. It was the first area to be designated a national park of the former Soviet Union. Given its size it is the largest park in Estonia and one of Europe’s biggest national parks. Its charter calls for the preservation, research and promotion of North-Estonian landscapes, ecosystems, biodiversity and national heritage. Originally the area of the national park was about 440 km², but later the territory was expanded towards the south. Now its area extends over 725 km², 474 km² lies on land, 251 km² is the sea. The present-day borders of the national park extend much farther than the original Lahemaa area, including a part of the Nort-Estonian limestone plateau and the northernmost area of Kõrvemaa. About 70% of the territory is covered with forests, with the coastal plain and Kõrvemaa being the most forested. Inhabitation is denser on limestone plateaus and on the coast. The Harju and Viru plateaus are the areas of the oldest permanently settled areas in Estonia and, thus, they are good examples of cultivated landscapes, clearly contrasting with those areas of the national park that are forested and rich in mires.

Laukasoo mire inventory (2009) consists of several parts of 343.12 and 170.92 ha. Following classification of the Estonian vegetation site types (extract from Paal, 1997) the area is determined as pool-ridge bog site type, treed and treeless hummock bog site type. In addition, 17.7 ha of ombrotrophic bog forest site type and treed hummock bog site type were determined. The area provides habitat for following protected species: Tetrao urogallus, Accipiter gentilis, Buteo buteo, Leucorrhinia albifrons, Triturus vulgaris, Rana temporaria, Bufo bufo, Lycopodium clavatum, and Platanthera bifolia.

In project area, strong forest drainage at the borders and former peat extraction sites with accompanying drainage in the NW part of the project area. Drainage ditches link bog pools and have lowered their waterlevel, therefore the influence of drainage extends deep into the 7110* habitats. Former peat extraction sites are covered with relatively dense forest and restoration of sites to natural open 7110* requires forest manipulations besides drainage closure.

Literature:

Paal, J. 1997. Eesti taimkatte kasvukohatüüpide klassifikatsioon. Eesti keskkonnaministeerium, ÜRO keskkonnaprogramm. Tallinn. /in Estonian/

Paal, J., Leibak, E. 2011. Estonian Mires: Inventory of Habitats. Tartu.