Wetlands restoration in Šumava

As a part of ALFAwetlands synergy activities and learning about wetlands restoration practices, European Wilderness Society have visited various Czech Republic wetlands restoration sites. Furthermore, team expert, Vlado Vancura, have developed number of postings regarding restoration practices. One of them is about Šumava National Park restoration experience, which we are sharing now with you.


Wetlands, primarily the peat bogs, in Šumava National Park, Czech Republic, are covering about 30% of the park territory. They are islands of biological diversity, where countless numbers of rare plant and animal species live in their natural wet environment.

Why water and wetlands

Water has petered out to a great extent from the landscape after centuries of intensive human activities. Extensive areas of wetlands and mires were drained and converted to cultivated land.

Nowadays, drought has become a serious problem, and therefore it is necessary to address the rectification and restoration of the landscape’s natural hydrological regime. In such a way, restoration project, which includes Šumava National Park, returns water to places where it had been from time immemorial, forming the surrounding environment.

Draining and commercial peat excavation

The substantial part of the wetlands in the Šumava National Park (more than 50 %) have been negatively impacted by systematic landscape draining and commercial peat excavation in the recent past.

This has damaged the local hydrology, reduced the water-retaining capacity, and afflicted the ecological balance in the peat bogs. This process resulted in lower species diversity and advancing effects of the climate change, namely, dramatic impacts of extreme drought periods and floods.

Restored area where peat was excavated
Area where peat was excavated

Wetlands restoration in Šumava National Park

Recent extensive wetlands restoration in the Park focuses on the improvement of the natural conditions of degrading peat bogs and other mires and wetlands. The restoration objective is to renew the natural water regime over an area of ca 2,000 hectares.  

In this process the field activities include, for instance, blocking and refilling about 80 kilometres of drainage channels and the restoration of 13 kilometres of natural streams.

This process also comprises a large number of activities for the general public, aimed at informing local inhabitants as well as tourists. These activities aim to raise awareness about the importance of wetlands for the landscape and its inhabitants.

Restoration and improvement of natural state of various types of wetlands in National Park Šumava, it also improves habitats of the rare bird species such as Tetrao Tetrix. Last but not least, these activities raise public awareness and motivate the key land owners to restore mires and landscape hydrology.

Area where peat was excavated
Restored streams

Restoration measures and Life for Mires

Šumava National Park together with the Bavarian Forest National Park is a transboundary protected area. Both parks with surrounding areas form a significant Central European territory with extensive areas of peaty and mire biotopes. The whole territory is rich in EU priority peat bog habitats and represents also considerable component of the Natura 2000 European network.

Currently running in both protected areas project Life for Mires is aiming at  improvement of the natural condition of degrading peat bogs and other mires and wetlands and to renew the natural water regime over an area of 2,059 hectares. Therefore many restoration activities are taking place there.

Wetlands play an irreplaceable role in the landscape hydrology and the water cycle, having favourable effects on the local climate. Restoration of the peat bogs in Šumava National Park significantly contribute to mitigation of the consequences of climate change.

Iryna Shchoka
European Wilderness Society
Restored area, where peat was excavated

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