Identity card of the Life Jura peatlands program
Name : Life Jura peatlands
Duration : 6 years (from june 2014 to november 2020)
Overall budget : 8 051 163 euros
Location : Jura mountains of Franche-Comté
Interventions : 60 bogs spread over 16 Natura 2000 sites
Coordinating-beneficiary : Conservatoire d’espaces naturels de Franche-Comté
Associated-beneficiaries : Syndicat mixte des milieux aquatiques du Haut-Doubs, Parc naturel régional du Haut-Jura, Association des amis de la Réserve naturelle du lac de Remoray, Syndicat mixte d’aménagement du Dessoubre et de valorisation du bassin versant et DREAL Franche-Comté
Financial partners : Union européenne, Agence de l’eau Rhône Méditerranée Corse, Conseil régional de Franche-Comté, Départements du Doubs et du Jura.
The general objectives of the program
1 / Conduct operations to rehabilite the hydrological functioning of peatlands located in the Natura 2000 network of Jura Franche-Comté, to maintain or improve the conservation status of habitats and habitats of species of community interest;
This rehabilitation will take place over the long term : the operations will be optimized to the maximum technical possibilities so they will require little or no recurring actions after the Life program.
2 / Acquire some plots to ensure their preservation;
3 / To raise awareness and understanding for the protection of these ecosystems and ensure their long-term preservation.
The objectives of work
- 60 restored peatlands (37% of the Franche-Comté Jura Natura 2000 network's bogs)
- 16,000 linear meters of drain neutralized;
- 11,000 linear meters of stream restored;
- 26 ha extraction zone rehabilitated;
- 57 ha of tree cutting down or shrub clearing;
- 3 changes or deletions of inadequate infrastructure.
10 management plans will be achieved;
46 ha of peatlands will be acquired.
The experience gained through this program can later be used locally and in other sites of the Natura 2000 network.
Finally, communication actions implemented contribute to a collective awareness of the value of peatlands and the need to protect them.
Restoration objectives habitats, flora and fauna
The project will thus positively impact 510 ha of peatland habitats, including 412 ha of community interest, improving their conservation status:
- Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clavey-silt-laden soils (6410) : 61 ha;
- Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels (6430) : 53 ha;
- Active raised bogs (7110) : 88 ha;
- Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration (7120) : 32 ha;
- Transition mires and quaking bogs (7140) : 45 ha;
- Alkaline fens (7230) : 14 ha;
- Bog woodland (91DO) : 119 ha.
In addition, the restoration actions (eg cutting planting) will restore 10 hectares of additional peat habitats.
The project will also contribute to act directly on the species listed on the Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive by improving or stabilise the population' conservation status of the bog saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus) (single station in Franche-Comté), Liparis loeselii, Drepanocladus vernicosus, Porzana porzana, Leucorrhinia pectoralis, Maculinea nausithous, Euphydryas aurinia, Lycaena helle, Lycaena dispar, Coenagrion mercurial, Vertigo geyeri (only French population).
Many other strong heritage value species will also be positively impacted : Carex heleonastes, Lycopodium inundatum, Boloria aquilonaris, Coenonympha tullia, Gallinago gallinago, Saxicola rubetra, etc.
It is because we operate almost simultaneously on the whole network of the Jura bogs that we can reasonably expected an improvement in the conservation status of these populations of species.
Objectives relating to climate change
Peatlands are vulnerable ecosystems, closely linked to water saturation. They are more substantial carbon stocks than forests : the 4 million km2 of the world's peatlands store the equivalent of 75% of all carbon from the air, or that of any terrestrial biomass, or twice the carbon stored in any forest biomass of the world.
Prolonged drop of groundwater level may induce a peat production stopping. If the drop is prolonged or repeated, this could result in a failover in the ecosystem, with the disappearance of peat building species (mosses, especially sphagnum species) and the development of unwanted species (birch, including molinie ). The functioning of the bog is deeply disturbed :
- it does not produce peat anymore and is no longer functional: the habitats and species that usually make it up decline and eventually disappear;
- it changes, due to the peat mineralization, from a status of carbon sinks to a cabon emitter, increasing the greenhouse effect by feedback.
Climate change projections for Western Europe predict an increase in temperature, coupled with a reduced rainfalls in summer. Already hydrologically disturbed by direct damages (drainage, peat cutting, etc.), the vulnerability of the Jura bogs will therefore be increased. In France, emissions are estimated in 2008 at 2.7 Mt CO2 for 1 120 km² of degraded peatlands, with potential emissions of 450 Mt in the future (Joosten, 2009).
By restoring the bogs at its full technical potential, generally inducing enhances of their groundwater, this project will allow:
- to give some resilience to peatland ecosystems, a better ability to withstand changes, including climate change, and thus enable habitats and species of community interest to remain;
- to rebalance and possibly reverse the carbon footprint of the sites by returning them from carbon emitter to carbon sink.