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LIFE-Natur-Projekt "Rosenheimer Stammbeckenmoore"  LIFE-Natur-Projekt "Rosenheimer Stammbeckenmoore"
Special bog excavator in use for ecology

Landkreis Rosenheim - LIFE-Nature Project

The LIFE-Project "Rosenheimer Stammbeckenmoore (bogs)" is making progress. Requirements for rewetting measures are being made using heavy equipment.
Upon frozen ground, the damage can be held down.
During medieval times bogs used to be considered odd, haunted places, but since the beginning of the industrial age, its fuel sources were exploited. As peat is also used for health-cure purposes and as garden soil, it is of economical significance.
For this reason 95% of the Bavarian bogs were destroyed during the past 150 years, being drained and changed into forest and agricultural landscapes. "The following loss of habitats in the bogs endangered it's highly adapted animal and plant life", explains master of ecology Ralf Strohwasser, manager of the European LIFE-Project "Rosenheimer Stammbeckenmoore (bogs)". Now many species have been included on the red list of threatened animals and plants.
Bavaria also takes responsibility according to the Natura-2000-Biotope Network. The Bavarian government had already passed a law for the conservation of bogs during the 1970s. In the County of Rosenheim, the protection of the peatlands was especially enforced by the county chief executive Dr. Max Gimple who started the LIFE-Nature project. The Department of Nature Conservation and Landscape Care of the County of Rosenheim sponsors the project.
Raised bogs have a very soft ground. The excavator being used, is a special kind with 140 cm wide chains. It still can't hover over the peat, but it allows it, even with it's 140 tons of weight, to not even sink as much as a person. It was already a success in a first digging site, which was recently finished, it achieved the removal of already exploited peat for bathing-application use for regional clinics in a central part of the area "Filzen" and marginal areas already ruined by drainage. The drainage in the next planned sites will be closed this winter.
The goal of the rewetting measures is to improve the ability to store water "dried up peat can only hold a very limited amount of water, like you know from a dried up flower pot. As soon as it's dried up, you can't water it without it running over due to the air-tight soil", explains Strohwasser. With moist peat that's different. That kind can hold much more precipitation and lets it escape back into the environment much more slowly.
Another goal of the rewetting measures is climate protection. Drained peat mineralizes in the air and produces a considerable amount of the greenhouse gas CO2 (carbon dioxide). In the water soaked areas, the mineralizing is stopped failing on air, by peat growth, CO2 from the atmosphere even bounds anew. "In the long run it works against greenhouse effects", according to Strohwasser.
The third goal is the protection of life species. First success was accomplished in areas recently dammed by the Euflor Company. Strohwasser is happy: "the dragonfly (Nehalennia speciosa / German: Zwerglibelle), which is threatened to extinguish, has built up a strong population". 

A special excavator (chain width 1,40 m!) closes drainage ditches and fills peat walls.

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Rosenheim: 13/12/2007