Denmark’s 43rd Ramsar Site
The government of Denmark has named its 43rd Wetland of International Importance, Lille Vildmose (7,393 hectares; 56°54’N 010°12’E) in the Region Nordjylland near Aalborg. As summarized by Ramsar’s Laura Máiz-Tomé, Assistant Advisor for Europe, based on the Ramsar Information Sheet, the site comprises a blend of bogs, forests, lakes and meadows and holds an important flora and fauna characteristic of large bogs, including important species such as Sphagnum mosses. A large part of the raised bog has been drained, cultivated and used for a turf industry. Peat extraction ceased in 2011, however, and restoration plans supported by the EU LIFE+ funds have been implemented. The restored lakes contain high levels of phosphorus but they are rich in European-protected bird species such as Common Crane, Curlew, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Eagle Owl, Avocet and Wood Sandpiper. Moreover, populations of Red Deer, Otter, Badger and Wild Boar also breed within the site.
Lille Vildmose is also very important for carbon storage, groundwater recharge and climate regulation. It is worth noting that the new site has been designated in part under Criterion 1, especially under the specification that “wetlands can be selected for their hydrological importance which, inter alia, may include the following attributes . . . vi) have a major hydrological influence in the context of at least regional climate regulation or stability (e.g., certain areas of cloudforest or rainforest, wetlands or wetland complexes in semi-arid, arid or desert areas, tundra or peatland systems acting as sinks for carbon, etc.)” (Strategic Framework, Handbook 17, p. 30). One of the primary threats derives from fragmentation of the bog habitat due to former excavation and drainage causing vegetation overgrowth. Today the main use of the area is for nature conservation. There are many visitor facilities such as a visitor centre, exhibitions, information activities and guided tours, boardwalks and several towers for birdwatching.