Restoration works started at pilot site La Guette (FR)

The restoration works at the French pilot site, La Guette, took place from the 24th of November to the 5th of December 2020. As planned, the vegetation and the first 10 cm of peat were stripped in two areas of about 600 m2.
One area was slightly wetter than the other to test the effect of water table depth on the growth of Sphagnum. Common vegetation composed of Molinia caerulea and Ericaceous shrubs were removed to let a typical peatland plant biodiversity to set up. The restoration works were undertaken by Jura Natura Service, a company specialised in peatland restoration works located in the Jura mountains region

Sphagnum was collected within the stripped areas and taken in nearby areas to compose 7 high density patches of about 1 m in diameter. In addition, low density Sphagnum patches will be tested by planting clusters of Sphagnum, about 10 cm apart (beginning of 2021). The aim is to test whether a low amount of Sphagnum is able produce a dense lawn. This can be an alternative to the formation of dense patches. Indeed, in disturb peatlands, Sphagnum species may be not abundant enough to compose dense patches. We hypothesise that 1) high density patches could resist better desiccation if drought occurs than low-density patches, and 2) low density patches may grow faster than high density patches, if there is no drought. The growth of Sphagnum patches will be monitored with drone images.

The restoration works were presented to the stakeholders (manager of the site, county council, Forest National Office) during the site comity on the 4th of December. Also a newspaper article on the La Guette peatland restoration was published in “Le Berry Républicain”.

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