Conservation and restoration of peatland fauna requires restoration of landscape heterogeneity

G.A. van Duinen, A.M.T. Brock, A.J. Dees, H.H. van Kleef, J.T. Kuper, T.M.J. Peeters, W.C.E.P. Verberk and H. Esselink

After Wise Use – The Future of Peatlands, Proceedings of the 13th International Peat Congress: Peatland After-Use

fauna, habitat-diversity, invertebrates, restoration

Van Duinen et al. 2008: Conservation and restoration of peatland fauna


Rewetting of degraded bogs generally focuses on Sphagnum recovery by means of retaining rain water. Aquatic invertebrate assemblages were compared between degraded and rewetted bog remnants and intact bogs. In- vertebrate species respond differently to degradation and restoration, due to differences in their diet, lifecycles, dispersal capabilities and tolerance. Populations of characteristic macroinvertebrates have been able to survive the slow process of degradation, persisting as relict populations in bog remnants, but are unable to cope with rapid, large scale rewetting and the subsequent lower habitat diversity. Therefore, we recommend restoration strategies safeguarding relict populations of characteristic species. Furthermore, retaining rain water generally results in similar changes at large scale, leading to loss of landscape heterogeneity. Restoration of the regional groundwater system may rehabilitate the heterogeneity in both ombrotrophic and minerotrophic parts of bog landscapes, required to rehabilitate invertebrate diversity.