Approaches in WetlAnd REstoration

- focus on fen landscapes

Materials from international workshop, 21-23 April 2013, Warsaw

Scope of workshop

Key-note abstracts


Case studies

The workshop was financed by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (grant no. N N305 148739).




International workshop Approaches to Wetland Restoration - the focus on fen landscapes was held in Warsaw on 22-23 April, followed by an excursion and field-discussions in fens of NE Poland (23-25 April 2013). The workshop was attended by more than 70 participants from 11 countries: scientists, students and representatives from nature protections agencies.

Submitted posters on case studies and some of the contributions in a form of short publications (extended abstracts) are now available on the workshop website.  

The challenges, trade-offs and conflicts in wetland restoration were debated during a panel discussion of the workshop and in the field. A several concluding statements are summarized below. The focus of our workshop was on the restoration of wetlands in a broadly understood fen landscapes. Recently many restoration projects are initiated, although they are focusing on different objectives. While natural landscapes used to provide multiple functions and biodiversity benefits, restoration of the degraded fens is intrinsically constrained by certain trade-offs.

Cost-effectiveness of restoration was discussed. High investments should be made in those sites, which offer good potential for long-term preservation of biodiversity in resilient and stable ecosystems. Currently, most fen restoration projects are oriented on short-term gains in rare species, while they do not account on long-term stability. In large areas, there is more space for natural dynamics and wilderness-approach in restoration, while small areas usually require more interventions and intensive restoration approach.
Biodiversity and ecosystem services may require different approaches: ecosystem services and provision of habitats for threatened species can be sometimes combines, but there are trade-offs related to optimizing restoration strategies for such different targets. Compromises or setting priorities are two ways of solving conflicts of interests.
Primum non-nocere: ecological restoration, as a method of assisting degraded ecosystems in natural recovery, cannot be used as an excuse for damaging other sites. Conservation of existing biodiversity hotspots and remaining natural ecosystems has the highest priority.