Kim Karotki

Auks­tu­ma­la edu­ca­tio­nal natu­re trail in Lithuania

Sub­si­di­sed by Klasmann-Deilmann Silute

Auks­tu­ma­la is one of the best known are­as of rai­sed bog in the world. It was the first bog to be sci­en­ti­fi­cal­ly rese­ar­ched, nota­b­ly by the bota­nist Carl Albert Weber. With the finan­cial sup­port of Klasmann-Deilmann Silu­te, an edu­ca­tio­nal natu­re trail has been laid out in this part­ly unspoilt moor­land which was ope­ned this summer.

On this 1.2 kilo­met­re-long trail, visi­tors to the Silu­te regi­on can explo­re the rai­sed bog of Auks­tu­ma­la. Infor­ma­ti­on is pro­vi­ded at nume­rous sta­ti­ons and the­re is a wealth of typi­cal moor­land wild­life to obser­ve, with a loo­kout tower offe­ring won­der­ful views of the beau­ti­ful land­s­cape. The trail starts off as a foot­path and con­ti­nues along a woo­den walk­way past several obser­va­ti­on points.

A third of this rai­sed bog is a pro­tec­ted area and has remai­ned unspoilt to the pre­sent day while peat has been extrac­ted in two thirds of the area for some 130 years. The first drai­na­ge chan­nels were dug at the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry. During the years when it was part of the Soviet Uni­on, the­re was an ent­i­re net­work of chan­nels. The unspoilt part of the bog was made a natu­re reser­ve in 1995.


The edu­ca­tio­nal natu­re trail was con­struc­ted as part of a EU-LIFE pro­ject. In order to keep the water level high and pre­ser­ve the bog in its natu­ral sta­te, dams were con­struc­ted in the del­ta of the river Nemu­nas. The goal of the pro­ject is not only to pro­tect the unspoilt part of the bog, but also to crea­te an envi­ron­ment whe­re the typi­cal moor­land vege­ta­ti­on can grow again in are­as whe­re peat has been extrac­ted in the past.

Work on the natu­re trail began in Octo­ber 2015 and it was ope­ned in sum­mer this year. Klasmann-Deilmann Silu­te gave finan­cial sup­port to the pro­ject to assist the buil­ding of the loo­kout tower and the walk­way. Employees of the com­pa­ny are also invol­ved in the pro­ject team committee.

Carl Albert Weber (1856–1931), a Ger­man bota­nist who spe­cia­li­sed in the explo­ra­ti­on of bog vege­ta­ti­on, com­ple­ted a stu­dy of Auks­tu­ma­la. His main work “Über die Vege­ta­ti­on und Ent­ste­hung des Hoch­moors von Aug­s­tu­mal im Memel­del­ta” writ­ten in 1902 (trans­la­ted into Eng­lish in 2002 and repu­blis­hed under the tit­le “C.A. Weber and the Rai­sed Bog of Aug­s­tu­mal”) was one of the pionee­ring works for fur­ther rese­arch in the field.