LIFE CIETRZEW KARPATY PL - Conservation of black grouse as umbrella species for valuable habitats of the Orawsko-Nowotarskie Peat Bogs

LIFE15 NAT/PL/000820

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Contact details:

Contact person: Tomasz Wilk
Tel: 48510572914
Email: biuro@otop.org.pl

Project description:


The Orawsko-Nowotarskie peat bogs in Podhale, southern Poland, is a large complex of raised bogs, surrounded by swamp forests and extensively-farmed agricultural land, mostly hay meadows and pastures. This unique 8 500 hectare ecosystem provides important habitats for valuable plant, animal and fungi species, containing as it does 12 habitat types listed in Annex I and 14 animals listed in Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive. The project area also contains three particularly threatened species listed in Annex I of the EU Birds Directive: the black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and corncrake (Crex crex).


The main objective of the LIFE CIETRZEW KARPATY PL project was to stop the decline in the ‘Torfowiska Orawsko-Nowotarskie’ Natura 2000 network site (specifically, the Orawsko-Nowotarskie peat bogs) of one of the largest black grouse populations in the country; and thus to secure the conservation of the species in the long-term. Active protection measures for the grouse habitats would contribute to the conservation of one of the largest raised bog complexes in Poland.

Specific project objectives were as follows:

  • To restore the proper structure and quality of black grouse habitats , i.e. the peat bogs, including the priority habitat type, active raised bogs;
  • To ensure that black grouse lekking sites (i.e. sites where males gather to engage in competitive displays during the mating season) are of sufficient quality and size. Most such sites are located in mountain hay meadow habitats;
  • To reduce disturbance and anthropogenic pressure on the grouse at their lekking sites;
  • To reduce black grouse predation by the red fox (Vulpes vulpes); and
  • To increase awareness of black grouse conservation and the importance of peat bog habitats among the local community.
  • Expected results: The project expected to achieve the following results:

  • An increase in the black grouse population from 30-40 males to 45-60 males;
  • Removal of invasive plant species (mainly Scots pine – Pinus sylvestris) from black grouse breeding and foraging habitats (peat bogs);
  • Improved structure and water levels of 300 ha of raised peat bogs;
  • Restoration of 1 ha of raised peat bog degraded by peat extraction;
  • Mowing of 200 ha of current and former black grouse meadow and grassland lekking sites;
  • A reduction in the number of red foxes in the project areas, with training of up to 50 representatives of hunting organisations to continue management of the main black grouse predator after LIFE;
  • Training of eight local volunteers to patrol project areas during the mating season and prevent disturbance at lekking sites;
  • Channeling of tourism activities in the project areas to avoid disturbing black grouse; and
  • Increased local awareness of black grouse conservation and the importance of peat bog habitats.


The project did not start.


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Bogs and Mires
Species - Birds


monitoring‚  voluntary work‚  restoration measure‚  preventive measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • Directive 2009/147 - Conservation of wild birds - Birds Directive (codified version of Directive ...

Target species

 Tetrao tetrix     

Target Habitat types

  • 6520 - Mountain hay meadows
  • 7110 - Active raised bogs
  • 7120 - Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration
  • 7140 - Transition mires and quaking bogs
  • 7230 - Alkaline fens
  • 6230 - "Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)"

Natura 2000 sites

SCI PLH120016 Torfowiska Orawsko-Nowotarskie
SPA PLB120007 Torfowiska Orawsko-Nowotarskie



Coordinator Oglnopolskie Towarzystwo Ochrony Ptakw
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Founded in 1991, OTOP (“the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds”) is a nationwide nature conservation NGO dedicated to the protection of wild birds and their habitats in Poland. It operates a network of local groups throughout the country and is BirdLife International’s Polish partner. OTOP’s current activities focus on the protection of important bird areas (IBAs) and endangered species in Poland and related issues.
Partners NNT(Państwowe Gospodarstwo Leśne Lasy Państwowe Nadleśnictwo Nowy Targ), Poland


Project reference LIFE15 NAT/PL/000820
Duration 01-DEC-2016 to 28-FEB -2021
Total budget 1,416,974.00 €
EU contribution 850,184.00 €
Project location Malopolskie(Poland Polska)


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