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Belarus To Launch $4.3m Peatland Restoration Project in September

A $4.3 million peatland restoration project will be launched in Belarus in September, Nikolai Svidinsky, the head of the biological and landscape diversity department at the Belarusian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, told the media on 30 January.

“The project is aimed at improving the management of forest and peatland ecosystems”, the official said.

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The money will be used to develop the concept of the project and perform works to improve the hydrological regime and facilitate the reforestation of these areas. The project is currently at the national registration stage.

The head of the biological and landscape diversity department said that $4.3 million had been provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

“This is a contribution to the conservation of our ecosystems, including swamps, through international technical assistance. Peatlands are a unique treasure for the entire continent,” Nikolai Svidinsky stressed.

A number of events were conducted within the framework of Peatlands-2 project in Belarus in 2016, for instance, works were carried out to create a high-yielding herb layer on an area of 494ha in Brest region and a total of 14.45ha of peatland was rewetted.

The peatland restoration project to be implemented in Belarus will not be the first one of its kind.

The county adopted a strategy for conservation and sustainable use of peatlands in 2016. The document points to major challenges related to the conservation and sustainable use of peat swamps, describes their current state, and outlines the expected results of the implementation of the strategy.

As part of it, Belarus plans to ensure conservation of 684,000ha of peatlands in their original state, study 179,000ha of peatlands, and work out measures for their conservation. Special attention is given to the preservation of the habitats of wild animals and plants listed in the Red Book.

To date, some 863,000ha of peatlands in Belarus (including 684,000ha of studied peatlands) exist in their original or close to original state.