„Transboundary restoration of mires for biodiversity and landscape hydrology in Sumava and Bavarian Forest“ (2018 – 2024)


Mires and wetlands are typical habitats of the Sumava landscape. They are spread almost everywhere but particularly in central mountain plateau and in broad river valleys. Their high natural values contributed to involvement of Sumava Mts. among the important areas protected within the European Natura 2000 network.

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Photo 1: Meandring Hučina stream restored within previous period. Due to LIFE for MIRES project we can restore around 13 km of capillary water flows. 

Mires are developed in diverse types and forms including e.g. high raised bogs with typical bog pools, extensive spruce mires or mire meadows and fens covered with low sedges. Mires originated long time ago, already at the end of the Ice Age. Their wet environment with high water table, low temperatures, high acidity and low content of nutrients is extremely adverse for a majority of living organisms. That is why rare and relict species, well adapted to specific and severe conditions, are often related to mires. In this aspect, mires considerably enrich biodiversity of the Sumava landscape.

However, mires are not the only type of wetlands in Sumava. There is nearly one third of the Sumava territory covered by various wetlands and swamps like waterlogged spruce forests, treeless or forested springs, willow carrs, wet meadows, or river floodplains with oxbow pools and high sedges. These wetlands accumulate an enormous amount of water and considerably affect natural water regime of the whole territory including down-stream catchment areas. High water retention becomes very important at present as it could mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. Wetlands and mires keep water in the landscape even during dry periods and contribute to prevent overheating of landscape through evaporation despite long-lasting temperature extremes.

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Evaporated water returns to the landscape in the form of condensed precipitation (short water cycle). It is obvious today that the wetlands and mires previously banned and drained become more and more important for healthy functioning of the landscape, including availability and retention of water. That is why these habitats must be protected and returned to the nature.


Why restoration project in Sumava?

In the past, when natural values and important role of wetlands in hydrology were underestimated, lots of wetlands were drained to enhance appropriate management and land use. As a result, there are numerous damaged or totally destroyed wetlands that lost their capacity for water retention and living-space for rare species as well. We can feel the consequences of that approach today and water being previously a nuisance is now missing.

But humans also modify the original course of mountain streams, particularly in the lower foothill areas. Meandered shallow streambeds from which the flooding water could well infiltrate into adjacent floodplain were regulated and straightened into deep drainage channels. Water disappeared very quickly from such landscape. Moreover, the unique natural sites were destroyed and their ability to provide vital space for endangered species was lost.

Photo 2: Blocked and recovering drainage channel restored within previous period. Due to LIFE for MIRES project we can restore around 80 km of drain ditches on 47 sites.


Water lost and returned

Fortunately, the times change as well as our look at nature, its landscape and even mires. First restoration measures in degraded wetlands and mires were performed in 1999 by the Sumava National Park. At that period, a long-term programme called „Restoration of mires and wetlands in Sumava" started. It was focused on rescue of unique mire sites and an overall restoration of natural landscape hydrology. Natural state of 700 ha of mires and wetland habitats and of 5 km of mountain streams was improved till 2018.

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Photo 3: The first voluntary event "People for Mires" took place in October 2018. 

Yet there are still many drained mires with progressive degradation. It is thus important to restore them and recover their natural state, not only because of the protection of rare species but also the mitigation of climate change deteriorating their situation. As the restoration measures in field are quite expensive, the allocation of appropriate funding for their implementation is necessary. Financial support may be provided by European funds dedicated to such purposes. One of those financial instruments is the Community programme LIFE focused on the improvement of natural state of important sites protected of the Natura 2000 network.


New LIFE project for restoration and protection of mires and wetlands in Sumava



In 2018, the Sumava National Park received LIFE funding for the implementation of a 7-year transboundary project called „Transboundary restoration of mires for biodiversity and landscape hydrology in Sumava and Bavarian Forest" - in short "LIFE for MIRES".

The main project aim is restoration of mires, wetlands and landscape hydrology on both Czech and Bavarian side of Sumava Mts., on the area covering 2059 ha. The field measures consist of blocking and filling of 80 km of drainage channels and restoring of 13 km of regulated streams. The project also comprises various actions for public including both locals and visitors with the aim to enhance awareness about the importance of wetlands and their key role in landscape. There are 4 project partners: Sumava National Park, National Park Bavarian Forest, Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V., University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. The coordinating beneficiary is the Sumava National Park.


Picture 1: Situation of project sites.



The main project approach and objectives are well expressed by the following motto:

„Landscape without wetlands is landscape without water."



info.jpgCurrent state of the project


Sabina Flahou Navrátilová
Project Manager

Ivana Bufková, Ph.D.
Expert Guarantor

Lukáš Linhart
PR Manager

General Project Information...

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