Scientific activities are an essential part of LIFE Anthropofens' work, since they lead to greater knowledge about alkaline fens, their condition and way of working, but also help to assess the impact of the restoration work already undertaken.
The geographic distribution of LIFE all over the Hauts-de-France region and Wallonia is an ideal way to obtain data and analyses on a large scale and which are representative of the alkaline fens in our regions.
Some of the scientific activities will aim to better understand and monitor the eco-hydrological mechanisms of alkaline fens.
To do so, a study will be carried out on eight LIFE sites. Monitoring of water levels will also be set up in the various sites, in addition to the existing monitoring work.
These studies and monitoring will be backed by analyses of the physical-chemical quality of the water and will also help to assess the impact of LIFE actions on the water and carbon cycle.
A pedological study will be conducted on some sites to give more detailed information about the composition and structure of the site soils according to their water system.
LIFE Anthropofens aims to restore peat habitats, so monitoring the state of conservation of habitats at two different levels will be carried out (on the level of the habitat and the level of all the habitats), as well as phyto-ecological monitoring on specific actions, alongside the monitoring mentioned above.
Other monitoring will be carried out on bioindicator species, hoverflies, as well as patrimonial species found only in alkaline peat habitats – two molluscs, the narrow-mouthed whorl snail (Vertigo angustior) and the Desmoulin's whorl snail (Vertigo moulinsiana), a plant, the fen orchid (Liparis loeselii), and a spider: the great raft spider (Dolomedes plantarius).
The effects of pasturing on LIFE's selected habitats are not yet sufficiently understood to guide how they are managed.A general study on the impact of pasturing on alkaline fen habitats will be carried out and backed up by specific monitoring on the LIFE sites, where this type of management already exists.
Monitoring will be carried out to assess the efficacy of replanting species in alkaline fens and transition mires, of replanting purple moor-grass wetlands and the ecological restoration of bog woodland and alluvial alder and birch forest with tall grasses.
An assessment of LIFE project actions on ecosystemic services, on the water and nitrogen cycle, on the carbon cycle and pollination will also be conducted.
These studies and monitoring activities will be used to draw up an inventory before implementing actions and making an assessment after completion.
The combination of these different monitoring activities and studies from the different sites will improve our understanding of alkaline fens and how they work.
All the data collected during scientific activities will help us to develop guides and organise workshops aimed at the wide range of people involved in alkaline fens in order to promote and share these areas with as many individuals and organisations as possible