Wetland restoration in Central Europe: aims and methods


Corresponding author; Fax +49714143; E-mail pfadenha@weihenstephan.de


Abstract. Wetlands have always been of particular significance for mankind. While originally attractive as hunting grounds, they were later cultivated and modified from sinks into sources. Today, great efforts are being made to restore disturbed or destroyed wetland areas.

Different models and goals for wetland restoration exist. From a global point of view, reduction of climatically relevant trace gas emissions is relevant, especially in the case of fens. Regionally and locally, the creation of retention basins for water and compounds or the establishment of characteristic fen species and communities may have high priority. In order to avoid goal conflicts, nature development plans are required which consider not just the wetland to be restored, but the entire catchment area. Such plans should include spatially and temporally differentiated recommendations for implementation of restoration measures and a proper land use system. When it comes to defining concrete aims, the participation of local people should be encouraged.

Rewetting and oligotrophication are the most common approaches to boost biodiversity in fen ecosystems in Central and Western Europe. Rewetting includes both quantitative and qualitative aspects, requiring quantitative hydrological models and chemical analyses of the groundwater in the region. In addition, re-introduction of species is often necessary, at least in heavily fragmented cultural landscapes. Transfer of hay from donor areas to severely damaged, seed-depleted peatland to restore fen meadows, was successful. However, despite short-term successes, complete restoration of wetland areas requires a long period of time.