Life to ad(d)mire - Life to ad(d)mire – Restoring drained and overgrowing wetlands

LIFE08 NAT/S/000268

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Contact details:

Contact person: Lisa TENNING
Tel: 46 63 146274
Email: Lisa.Tenning@lansstyrelsen.se

Project description:


Wetlands have an important role to play in preserving biodiversity. Many plants and animals depend on wetland biotopes, and nearly 15% of Sweden’s threatened species live in peatlands or on freshwater margins. Hydrological changes and plant invasion adversely affect wetland animals and plants. Forest succession on drained mires is a major problem for several bird species and for the plants displaced. Nutrients from neighbouring forestry or agricultural activities also contributes to vegetation change. Some wetlands have historically been used as meadows, but agricultural modernisation has made this use unprofitable and such sites are often abandoned. Several species live in these sites, but their populations are decreasing or becoming extinct because of overgrowth and new management practices. Southern Sweden in particular has seen a significant loss of wetlands (e.g. approximately 90% in the Skåne region). Sweden nevertheless remains one of the most wetland-rich countries in the world.


The Life to ad(d)mire project aimed to halt the decrease of targeted wetland habitats and species at Natura 2000 network sites in Sweden, through hydrological restoration and vegetation measures. A long-term objective was that the hydrologically-restored active bogs will revert to being carbon sinks, and therefore stop the current loss of CO2 (due to drained peatland) into the atmosphere. The project area encompassed 40 430 ha on 35 Natura 2000 sites, with project actions directly targeting 3 852 ha. This area included the priority habitats ‘active raised bogs’ and ‘Aapa mires’. The project also targeted substantial parts of the habitats ‘degraded raised bogs’ and ‘alkaline fens’ in Sweden.


The Life to ad(d)mire project contributed to improving the conservation of 35 Natura 2000 network sites in Sweden, through hydrological measures and vegetation management. A total of 2 930 ha of mires were hydrologically restored at 28 sites by digging with excavators, building or repairing dams, and filling in ditches. The project managed vegetation on 1 831 ha at 31 sites, mainly removing scrubs and trees to improve conditions for breeding birds and other wetland species. It also removed overgrowth to access ditches, removed invading shrubs and trees, dredged two overgrown lakes used by birds to remove aquatic vegetation, and reinstated mowing on 18 ha. The removal of trees also reduces water loss by evapotranspiration.

By raising the water table and removing overgrowth, especially invading birch and pine trees growing on the mire as a result of unfavourable mire conditions due to poor hydrology from ditches, the target habitats were again made suitable for species that depend on wetlands for their survival. Through its direct conservation actions, the project improved the quality of 11 habitats of EU importance and had a positive effect on the hydrological situation on over 40 000 ha of peatlands, favouring 6 species listed in the annexes of the Habitats Directive and 19 species listed in the Birds Directive.

Key project deliverables were raising awareness, distributing information, and networking with landowners and local people affected by the restoration work. The project built 5 observation towers with information points, created a total of 21 500 m of hiking paths (with footbridges) at 12 sites, erected noticeboards at 8 sites, and produced a mire information book, information folders, and a website. The project was very active in promoting its restoration methods in the EU and internationally, for example, at conferences and seminars, and also in promoting the importance of peatlands in the mitigation of climate change.

The project restored mires and wetlands in 35 Natura 2000 network sites, primarily in areas that had been converted for agricultural use (e.g. hay making) and since abandoned. Due to the drainage ditches, the hydrology had become unfavourable. By filling ditches, clearing vegetation and taking other measures to raise the water table, the project reversed the loss of ecosystem services provided by these sites.

The most significant of the ecosystem services provided by peatlands in global terms is climate regulation. As a long term carbon store, peatlands are hugely important in climate change mitigation as they remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in peat under waterlogged conditions. Drained peatlands are a significant source of carbon emissions. Restoring drained peatlands by rewetting has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and this is now an accepted climate mitigation activity under international climate change agreements. Ecosystem services that are important on a more local scale include water retention and water quality and flow regulation. By restoring these ecosystem services, the project has a significant social and economic impact.

Through its actions to restore habitats, the project contributed directly to the implementation of the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive. It also indirectly contributed by disseminating information about mires restoration methods. In addition to the nature directives, the project is relevant to climate action policy at the EU level.

The project demonstrated peatland restoration in a safe, economic and successful way. It attracted national and international attention, from stakeholders wanting to know more about the project’s approach.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Bogs and Mires


protected area‚  wetlands ecosystem‚  restoration measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target species

 Asio flammeus   Chlidonias niger   Circus cyaneus   Cygnus cygnus   Gallinago media   Gavia stellata   Grus grus   Hamatocaulis vernicosus   Limosa lapponica   Meesia longiseta   Phalaropus lobatus   Philomachus pugnax   Pluvialis apricaria   Podiceps auritus   Ranunculus lapponicus   Saxifraga hirculus   Tetrao tetrix tetrix   Tringa glareola   Vertigo genesii   Vertigo geyeri   

Target Habitat types

  • 7110 - Active raised bogs
  • 7120 - Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration
  • 7140 - Transition mires and quaking bogs
  • 7230 - Alkaline fens
  • 7310 - Aapa mires
  • 9010 - Western Taïga
  • 9080 - Fennoscandian deciduous swamp woods
  • 91D0 - Bog woodland
  • 3130 - Oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters with vegetation of the Littorelletea uniflorae and/or of the Isoëto-Nanojuncetea
  • 3140 - Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp.
  • 6410 - "Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae)"

Natura 2000 sites

SCI SE0230137 Rocks mosse
SCI SE0230157 Fjällmossen östgötadelen
SCI SE0230176 Kärnskogsmossen
SCI SE0310020 Store mosse nationalpark
SCI SE0310072 Komosse
SCI SE0310216 Anderstorp, Store mosse
SCI SE0320022 Taglamyren
SCI SE0320105 Årshultsmyren
SCI SE0320117 Flymossen
SCI SE0320137 Tängsjö fly
SCI SE0420043 Åraslövs mosse
SCI SE0420154 Söderåsen
SCI SE0420179 Lya ljunghed och Älemossen
SCI SE0420271 Djurholmamossen
SCI SE0430044 Dagstorps mosse
SCI SE0430106 Traneröds mosse
SCI SE0430121 Fjällmossen
SCI SE0620048 Koppången
SCI SE0620084 Blåbergsåsflyten
SCI SE0620103 Haftahedarna
SCI SE0710060 Prästflon
SCI SE0710065 Gideåbergsmyrarna
SCI SE0710132 Sör-Lappmyran
SCI SE0710144 Mossaträsk
SCI SE0710149 Stensjöflon
SCI SE0720202 Öjsjömyrarna
SCI SE0720215 Brötarna
SCI SE0720282 Ånnsjön
SCI SE0230337 Trolleflod
SCI SE0230339 Bredsjömossen
SCI SE0230385 Bibergskärren
SCI SE0320211 Horsnäsamossen
SCI SE0720362 Tysjöarna
SCI SE0720420 Stensundet
SCI SE0430153 Häckeberga-Skoggård



Coordinator Länsstyrelsen Jämtlands Län
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The county administrative board of Jämtland is a regional authority whose responsibilities include nature conservation, environmental issues, hunting and fishing, the cultural environment, social services, animal welfare and trade and industry. Using its wide-reaching areas of responsibilities, the regional body is able to promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences of nature conservation, and can help disseminate successful results within the authority.
Partners County administrative board of Dalarna, Sweden County administrative board of Östergötland, Sweden County administrative board of Jönköping, Sweden County administrative board of Kronoberg, Sweden County administrative board of Västernorrland, Sweden County administrative board of Skåne, Sweden


Project reference LIFE08 NAT/S/000268
Duration 01-JAN-2010 to 31-DEC -2015
Total budget 6,813,474.00 €
EU contribution 3,406,737.00 €
Project location Östra Mellansverige(Sverige) Småland med Öarna(Sverige) Sydsverige(Sverige) Västsverige(Sverige) Norra Mellansverige(Sverige) Mellersta Norrland(Sverige)


Read more:

Brochure "Restaurering av en värdefull naturtyp MYREN: Erfarenheter fran projektet Life to ad(d)mire" (10.4 MB)
Brochure "Life to ad(d)mire: Restoration of wetlands and mires in seven counties" (2.90 MB)
Leaflet "Rewetting drained forest in Southern Sweden. IN : ...
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Swedish version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report
Slides Presentation "Life to ad(d)mire: Restoration of mires and wetla ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version