Learning from past restoration projects

Under ALFAwetlands Work Package 1, EVINBO and MSF partners are conducting a literature review focusing on restoration measures and approaches implemented in European wetlands over the past 40 years. Primary objective is to gain valuable insights into the entire process of restoration projects, including the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation phase. This will help to enhance overall project success and contribute to wetland restoration efforts.

Information sources

Hence, ALFAwetlands scope extends beyond journal articles and also (online) databases. Furthermore,  project reports (e.g., LIFE), manuals and handbooks are evaluated and, if necessary, translated. Through this approach, partners aim to gather knowledge and synthesize this into a report and best practice tool to inform future wetland restoration initiatives, as a part of ALFAwetlands Work Package 6.


Moreover, a geodatabase, comprising past restoration projects, is under development. Currently, this database contains approximately 750 unique restoration sites, predominantly focusing on peatlands, spread across 25 European countries. It includes information on the wetland ecology (e.g., wetland type, causes of degradation), the restoration project (lead, period, goals) as well as the specific restoration measures undertaken.

The restoration measures are categorized into three main groups: hydrology, vegetation, and soil management. The geodatabase serves as a valuable resource for spatial analysis and facilitates exploration of restoration projects meeting specific criteria. Additionally, partners are exploring together with Wet Horizons, ALFAwetlands sister project, how to create an added value by complementing our database initiatives.

Figure 1: overview of the restoration projects geodatabase and the distribution of some major sources of degradation (here with a focus on peatlands). Small black dots indicate peat extraction sites. The background differentiates the mire regions.

Further plan

Based on the conducted research a Reference Tool defining best practices for cost-effective restoration of peatlands and restoration of floodplains will be developed. It will provide with implementing measures, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on post-implementation maintenance. Furthermore, its content will be validated by ALFAwetlands internal and external experts review.

Info Box

The information for this post is prepared and images provided by Tom De Dobbelaer, ALFAwetlands EVINBO team member.

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