Building dams in Nigula bog

From 25th to 28th of June we were working in the bogs of Nigula Nature Reserve. This is one of the oldest bog reserves in Estonia, which was established in 1957 to preserve Nigula bog and the forest surrounding it. Located in South-West of Estonia near the Latvian border the nature reserve is part of the North-Livonian transboundary wetlands and forests complex.

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Building dam in the bog (Bálint and Marisol). Photo by Toomas Muuli and Pille Pirn

Our main task was damming old ditches to keep the water level high in the bog. High water level is crucial for the bog-ecosystem, because this type of landscapes are basically big natural water reservoirs. In  the bog the conservation work means to prevent water flow away from the bog to keep the natural balance of the ecosystem.

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Rare sight: an Estonian bog-mermaid in a pond of Nigula. (Photo by Pille Pirn)

Nigula Nature Reserve is part of the Põhja-Liivimaa bird area, which has a very diverse landscapes: you can find different wetlands, forests, natural and intensively used fields as well. The bird area is a resting place for the migratory geese, swans and cranes. The area is also inhabited by large mammals (lynx, wolf and brown bear) and here you can also find the very rare and endangered flying squirrel.

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Bogs are large natural water reservoirs. (Photo by Pille Pirn)

After 2 days of hard work before leaving Nigula bog,  we took a big hike trough the forest and the bog. If you want to visit the bog there a few rules that you have to keep mind. Within the strict nature reserve zone of Nigula bog all types of human activity is prohibited.  Visiting the special management zones outside the hiking trails, you need to have a permission from the supervisor of the area.

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Taking a long hike in the bog. (Photo by Toomas Muuli)
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