Pärnu Catchment

Action Site

Habitat Type



The Pärnu catchment of western Estonia presents enormous potential for large-scale restoration, providing a broad set of ecosystem services with economic incentives. Three areas have been identified for restoration, totalling over 3,500 hectares (ha). First, the Lavassaare exhausted peat fields (807ha) are currently drained, have almost no vegetation cover and represent a huge carbon emitter. This site has great potential for integrated wetland restoration and green energy development. Nearby, active peat extraction sites of more than 5000ha offer clear upscaling potential for the future, given that WaterLANDS is partnered with industry figures in the region. Second, the Kõrsa abandoned peat extraction fields (241ha) are also drained, with inappropriate revegetation. Kõrsa has great potential for integrated recreation and wetland restoration due to its proximity to local communities, who will be heavily involved in restoration through citizen science projects that will facilitate planning, implementation and monitoring. Further, currently active peat extraction sites (500 ha) in the vicinity have great restoration potential and will be developed with input from corporate partners. Finally, the Kikepera forest drainage area (2,482ha) lies on former mires and wet forest. The Parnu catchment is an example of a landscape-scale restoration opportunity that ties various wetlands habitats, from bogs to river meadows, into a hydrologically connected landscape. It offers huge biodiversity benefits due to its large size, variable habitats and proximity to existing large-scale restoration sites. Rewetting will restore long-term carbon sinks and will prevent further oxidative emissions. Firm linkages have been established with two key stakeholders: Tootsi Turvas peat extraction company and the Estonian State Forest Management Centre, both of whom are WaterLANDS partners.

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