14 Dec WINTER ACTIVITIES FOR RESTORING AMPHIBIAN TERRESTRIAL HABITATS
Restoration of terrestrial habitats is one of the most important concrete conservation activities of the LIFE AMPHICON project, alongside the establishment of new ponds. Amphibians spend most of the year on land. Hidden corners in hedgerows, meadows, or the forest provide them with summer hiding places and wintering sites. They also use the land for migration and feeding.
In the spring, we started working on restoring the extensive meadows in the Ljubljansko barje by mowing. Regular mowing and removing biomass leads to reduced nutrient levels in the soil. The extensification of meadows increases the diversity of plant species and thus invertebrates, which are the main food source for amphibians.
In some areas, we have recently started clearing overgrowth mixed with invasive alien plant species. Alien species are managed mainly by regular mowing, which is not possible in areas overgrown by shrubs. Regular mowing also helps to combat the further expansion of invasive alien species by preventing them from producing seeds. In spring, the land plots will be sown partly with native seed collected from well-preserved wet meadows around Bevke and partly with a commercial seed mix, thus establishing wet meadows.
In the last few weeks, we have also started planting hedgerows. We have planted more than 150 native seedlings of red dogwood, blackthorn, common holly, common buckthorn, black elder, oak, and willow. Meadows are not only important for amphibians but also provide habitat, refuges, fly-over or migration corridors, and food for many species of birds, bats, reptiles, mammals, and invertebrates. In total, we are planning to plant more than 2 km of hedgerows.