Monday, 9 May 2011

Dikes in Planalto dos Graminhais

The Project LIFE Sustainable Laurel has undertaken various actions with the aim of the recovery of the Peats of the Planalto dos Graminhais. One of the most relevant is the blockage of drainage ditches, open when in the past these areas were used for agriculture.

Over the past few months we have been studying and testing models of dikes. An early attempt was to use existing materials on site, (Cryptomeria trunks and soil) where the surface was covered with vegetation to minimize erosion. Such dikes were positive but their construction requires a lot of work and have some negative impact on the surrounding area.

A new model that uses plastic PVC is being tested and is already used in restoration of peatlands
in the UK and in other places of the world; this model was recommended by Normand Russell of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. This test consisted of installing a dike with 3.5 m wide and 80 cm deep. Its construction was easy and quick (about 1 hour) and shown to have a low impact on the surrounding area, with visible results within a few days.

The construction of these dikes will serve to retain water, so that it accumulates, allowing a more
favorable growth of the plants that live in these conditions, as is the case of Sphagnum sp.

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