Tasks in the project

ACTION C1 – active habitat 7230 protection

Removal of trees and shrubs from the “Dolina Ilanki II” reserve in the area of ​​2 ha and renovation of 20 valves in the “Dolina Ilanki” reserve and construction of 15 new ones in the “Dolina Ilanki II” reserve.

This activity is carried out on the areas leased by the Club and is consistent with the provisions of conservation pland of these reserves. Using its own experience, the Club plans to design gates (or other forms of blocking the ditches) in such a way as to minimize the necessary consents and permissions. It is about the economic balance of the cost of the dam and procedures related to the consent for its construction.

ACTION C2 and C7 – providing equipment and infrastructure for the biomass utilization process from extensive mowing in protected areas

At various places in the LIFE application, we wrote about the idea of ​​biomass processing in the context of nature protection and its independence. Similar solutions are not being introduced on a larger scale in Poland. Therefore, there is no proven low-quality biomass management system from peatlands that would be available to a wide range of habitat users. Therefore, it is important to propose a solution that is relatively simple and does not generate large investment costs. In Poland, it is important to finance the maintenance of targeted habitats. Club run (also) a business activity and provides services on the general market. Income provides funds for statutory activities – including to a large extent, for maintaining the effects of conservation measures financed by LIFE or ERDF. Every year, the General Assembly of Club Members allocates income for statutory purposes (only nature protection). However, these funds are not sufficient to bring about total independence from external funding for the protection of habitats managed by the Club. The ultimate goal of the Club on land owned or leased is to maintain European habitats without the need for external financing. In the long term, the goal is to ensure that protective measures will be financed exclusively from the organization’s revenues.

One of the main goals of this project is to solve the problem of biomass resulting from the maintenance of open natural habitats. The purchased equipment converts the waste product into a resource. Biomass from habitat maintenance is of very low quality and is not suitable as fodder and can not be used for other purposes without proper treatment. Stored for years on the mineral edge of mire, it leads to eutrophication of the habitat. Decay also has a negative impact on climate protection due to the release of large amounts of GHG.

The aim of the operation is to equip the Field Station of the Naturalists’ Club in Owczary with equipment that allows the utilization of biomass coming from the extensive mowing of the 7230 habitat patches in the above-mentioned Natura 2000 sites and reserves. This measure includes the construction of infrastructure for processing differentiated quality biomass from wet meadows and mires – the construction of a manure plate for storing and producing compost. Due to the specific local soil conditions, the biomass will be partially used as:

  • animal feed – the highest quality biomass (for sheep breeding for the protection of xerothermic grasslands),
  • fuel – for heating buildings in a field station and a farm in Owczary – biomass is not suitable as fodder, but after drying it can be further processed into briquettes,
  • compost mixed with fertilizer used for own needs at the farm in Owczary – the worst quality biomass due to the quality and degree of drying.

To develop these 3 options for biomass processing, we will purchase equipment for processing for fuel (briquetting, shredder) and a furnace in Owczary. At the same time, we will adapt one of the buildings of the Field Station in Owczary to the boiler room and for the needs of briquetting and shredding. In order to process the worst biomass quality into compost, we will build a properly protected composting plate.

ACTION D1 – monitoring of effects

Conducting hydrological and phytosociological monitoring will examin the effects of implemented activities. On two selected sites – Mechowisko Kosobudki and Dolina Ilanki – monitoring of habitat 7230 has been run by the Club for almost 20 years. The Club also runs GIOŚ / IOS art 17 HB monitoring for 7230 habitat and related species (ie Liparis loeselii) in the Lubuskie voivodship. For the purposes of project monitoring, we will use the same methodology (official methodology for habitats 7230 for Article 17 of the HD report).

For the project areas, the Club has monitoring data (habitat, hydrology, general phytosociology) since 1994! These data, together with the activities in the field of habitat protection conducted since then, will soon be published in 7230 habitat Monography and have been published in the “Guidedance of goof practice on alkaline fens protection”. Both publications were developed under previous LIFE projects concerning 7230 in Poland (LIFE11 NAT / PL / 423 and LIFE13 NAT / PL / 024).

Operation E1 – creating a network of Green Valleys

We will, on the one hand, promote solutions for the biomass problem and, on the other hand, cooperate with economic entities interested in the subject. We would like to create a network of green valleys in Europe, managers of Natura 2000 areas, who cooperate with economic entities, and also deal with the problem of excess biomass. The whole operation is carried out by the Lead Beneficiary Natuurpunt. A series of conferences and meetings will be organized. The existing Natuurpunt Information Center will be expanded with new content. Information sheets and subpages will be developed on the Ecopedia.be website, which will also be translated into Polish. Films presenting practical aspects of management of Natura 2000 areas (also in Poland) will be recorded, which will be available on the Ecopedia.be website and on the project website and will also be in Polish. For each of the habitats, information sheets available on the Ecopedia.be website will be created (also available in Polish). There will be websites devoted to the presentation of good practices and interesting experiences on ecotourism, where inspirational examples, tips and advice for other entities dealing in eco-tourism will be included (the pages will also be in Polish).

As part of the task, the Club will develop guidelines related to the management of biomass from peatlands based on own experience and other LIFE projects that have undertaken this topic.

ACTION E3 – Construction of educational paths at the Field Station in Owczary

Construction of two educational paths of a new type at the area of ​​the Field Station in Owczary.

Information boards with infographics about nature protection and “life cycle”, biomass processing. These boards will be placed near the main building of the Field Station. They will include mainly a colored infographic, which will explain to the general what the Club does, which is not visible in the station in Owczary, but it makes the biomass processing infrastructure so valuable for nature conservation. We would like to show the whole chain – from active protection measures to biomass processing in the service of habitat protection. Sensory path for disabled and pre-school / early school children (age 4 – 8 years). The path will be located close to and easily accessible from the main road. This means that it will also be available to disabled people and small children. The idea of ​​this path is that it is relatively short (200 – 300 m) in the form of a path / playground that will explain the role of wet habitats (peatlands) and dry (xerothermic grasslands found in Owczary), which is characteristic of these environments, why they are important and protected. The idea is also to show it using simple intuitive games (ie guessing what is in small bags with different elements to touch, but you can not see, competition: transferring water with a small container and sponge) or interactive elements (elements for smell, taste ( herbs from meadows), showing the color of grasslands (plants and animals – mainly birds and insects.) The detailed path concept that we would like to develop will be selected as a result of an open contest. Educational / adventure path for visitors (regardless of age), which will contain dynamic and interactive elements (not traditional educational boards). This path will be located along the already existing path through xerothermic grasslands in Owczary. Visitors with our guide walk around the grasslands and listen about history, forms of protection (grazing), the importance of the habitat, characteristic elements, edible plants that can easily fill the vegan diet, recipes etc. This is already the case in Owczary. As part of the project, we would like to add to this path educational / adventure elements on the length of about 1000-1200 m. The detailed concept will be the subject of an open competition.

This text is also available in: PL

"Conservation and restoration of alkaline fens (code 7230) in the young-glacial landscape of the northern Poland" 

"Conservation of alkaline fens (7230) in southern Poland" 

"Green Valleys: connecting habitats' conservation with long term biomass management and multi-stakeholder approach"