Aukštumala Cognitive Trail


Aukštumala Cognitive Trail

The Aukštumala cognitive walkway, whose length is 2400 m has been set up in the Aukštumala thelmological preserve. The preserve was designed to renaturalise and conserve the marshy ecosystem distinguished for lakelets complexes, specific biocenosis, rare and vanishing flora and fauna. The walkway that meanders (over the former bolder pavement) consists of 11 one-sided stations, equipped with information stands. Kūlgrinda (a stone pathway in a bog usually invisible) is a heritage of the 18th century. It was laid to enable the local marsh dwellers to connect the villages that now are non-existing. A part of these dwellers were the pioneers of Bismarck village. All these villages made up a population of 2000 people. They grew potatoes and other vegetables and operated them to Eastern Prussia for sale, the others worked in peat turbaries. One can learn in detail about the previous life of the marsh dwellers on the Žalgiriai cognitive path which is on Šilutė – Rusnė road.
Aukštumala, a habitat of bogs, holds great European interest.  The bogs correspond to the NATURA 2000 classification and must be protected and conserved. These are natural distrophic lakes, active upper marshes, degraded upper marshes, naked peat sedge-like shrubbery, boggy woods, boggy deciduous woods. Quite a few plant communities have been encountered in the habitats. Two of them were written into the Red Book of Lithuania. 175 species of high growing plants have been found in the bog of Aukštumala. 5 of with are signed in the Red Book.
The bog provides a home for 78 species of insects, 6 amphibians, 5 reptiles. 88 species of nesting birds have been observed there. Of them 17 are in the Red Book.
The same number have been entered in the EU bird protection Directive. Of mammals there are 26 species. Of them 4 are in the Red Book. But in the Directive appendices 10 species have been included. The Aukštumala marshes are rarely visited by people, that is why it is such an important sanctuary for a whole variety of animals. The main danger threatening the ecosystem of the Aukštumala marsh is to preserve it’s eutrophication which is caused by the intensive land reclamation and peat extraction, which caused a negative change in wetland vegetation. Of the 2500ha natural marsh only about 900 ha have remained intact. This particular part has been announced as thelmological preserve. The rest alas will turn after its exploitation into a lake.
The Aukštumala marsh as well as the whole river delta have always been a matter of attention of scientists of diverse fields. In 1900 the German botanist Karl-Albert Weber thoroughly and comprehensively investigated the marsh and in 1902 published the first book in the world on thelmology “Vegetation und Entstehung des Hochmoors von Augstumal” which was the same year translated into the English language under the title of “C.A. Weber and the Raised Bog of Augstumal”. Therefore we can call this bog the cradle of thelmology. To preserve this nature complex cradle is the task of all times which was initiated by C.A. Weber.
The cognative path of Aukštumala bog renders a rare and favourable chance to get acquainted with the bog and its flora and fauna, to enjoy a different landscape, to experience a peculiar beauty of the marsh. The visitor will have a better idea about bogs. He will understand that they are not only impassable squelching swamps with treacherous soaking pitfalls that are awaiting tourists but also one of the few remaining shelters for particularly rare marsh plants and animals.
When visiting the place do not forget that viperidae live there. Their bites may be detrimental to your health. Therefore do not touch these wonderful reptiles. Viperidae have a variety of coloration hues and can be difficult to discern them from a grass-snake.


Information of Nemunas delta regional park
Read more: 
www.nemunodelta.lt