This action is of great key importance in strengthening the carbon sink capacity of the wetland. It provides a biomass renewal mechanism for the wetland that translates in the short term into increased plant growth capacity, resulting in a greater amount of carbon sequestered during the vegetative cycle compared to areas where no mowing has taken place.
It is also important in terms of wetland conservation, ensuring the presence of open water areas that allow the regeneration of submerged aquatic flora, which is very important as the basis of the trophic chain in wetlands. These harvests will also serve to carry out complementary monitoring to that carried out with the experimental plots over the next few months of the project.
In July 2022, the field work of the implementation actions in the wetlands of Tierra de Campos returned, specifically in the lagoon of Boada de Campos in Palencia, and on this occasion with the first mowing of vegetation scheduled in this wetland of Castilla y León.
Mowing is an effective method for controlling the excess of helophytic vegetation in wetlands, and basically consists of cutting and removing the aerial part of this vegetation. If this work were not carried out, the vegetation would be favoured, leading to an over-accumulation of plant debris in the wetland bed. This would result in an excess of nutrients that end up favouring eutrophication and siltation processes in wetlands, leading to a loss of water quality and biodiversity in these ecosystems.
The mowing has been carried out by tractor, just when the lagoon bed dries out at the beginning of the dry season, but even when the vegetation is still green. It has been carried out in three sectors in the southern and eastern half of the Boada lagoon. Although the LIFE proposal in 2022 only envisaged the mowing of 7 ha, the interest of the livestock farmer has allowed the total area mowed to reach 14.8 hectares, from which 192 parcels or alpacas have been obtained, with a total weight of approximately 67,200 kilograms, or 4,541 kilograms per hectare. The use of this mown vegetation will be used mainly for fodder, but also for livestock bedding, specifically for the meat sheep of a local livestock farm in nearby Castromocho. In this way the by-product in the form of fodder is destined for local livestock farmers and the rural economy of the area is boosted.
This work is part of the field and measurement actions of the LIFE Wetlands4Climate project, specifically Action C2 called pilot management of wetlands through vegetation management.