View of the central part of Lille Vildmose
|Nearest city||Denmark location map.svg|
|Area||7,600 hectares (19,000 acres)|
|Designated||18 May 2013|
Lille Vildmose (meaning: “little wild bog”) is a raised bog also known as the East Himmerland Moor in the hinterland in the municipalities of Aalborg and Mariagerfjord, Denmark. It is the largest remaining raised bog in Northwestern Europe. The bog is a remnant of heathland that once extended south from Limfjorden to Rold Forest.
Lille Vildmose is a protected area, about 28 miles (45 km) southeast of Aalborg. It encompasses an area of 7,600 hectares (19,000 acres) which is owned both privately and partly by the State. A well-preserved, pristine wilderness, it contains the largest remaining raised bog in Northwestern Europe. Its habitat consists of raised bogs (once part of the seabed), former islands (during the Stone Age), and a large area of coastal hills and beach meadows.
The raised bogs flourished undisturbed for 1,200 years till they were intentionally drained around 1750. They contain layers of peat growing at an annual rate of 4–5 millimetres (0.16–0.20 in) and reaching a depth of 5 metres (16 ft). Rainwater provides the nutrients. Tofte Lake (Tofte sø) has been formed after draining the marsh over a period of 200 years. The deciduous forests of Høstemark, Tofte, and Mose are part of the protected area secured by fencing. Trees have started to grow on the Portlandmose and Paraplymose, both raised bogs, as a result of drainage.
Rye was cultivated in Lille Vildmose prior to the medieval period when hemp was introduced for diversification, after ca. 1140. Agricultural production dropped and farmland in Lille Vildmose was abandoned between 1360 and 1540 due to the Black Death plague, resulting in the regeneration of woodland. After 1540, farming was intensified, the main products being rye and hemp. By 1760, when Lille Vildmose belonged to the Lindenborg Estate, more than 5,000 ha (12,000 acres) were tilled for the estate's farm, Vildmosegård. In the early 19th century, the reclamation of Lille Vildmose was the impetus needed to establish a peat industry. The peatcutting have now been terminated completely for many reasons of which the conservation efforts is just one.
The visitor center, Lille Vildmosecentret, was designed by C. F. Møller Architects and opened in 2006. It contains an activity center and is also the starting point for visiting the bogs and forests. Wildlife can be observed from the park's look-out tower. An eagle simulator, landscape models, interactive exhibits, recreation areas for children, and hiking paths are other features. Double-decker bus service began in 2009 from Hobro in the south to Egense near Hals in the north.
Flora and fauna
Høstemark and Tofte forests and bogs have been undisturbed habitats for flora and fauna. There are 12-15 different species of plants including Sphagnum moss, heather, bell heather, crowberry, rosemary heather, cranberries, white beak rush and tue-cottongrass; a rare plant is cloudberry. Flowering plants grow on the peat sponge. There are no trees within the bog, however birch and willow are recorded in the bog's wooded marginal zones known as "lagg".
A stock of red deer totals about 550 animals. Other fauna reported in the moor area includes wild boars, otters, and foxes. Moose, beavers, wild horses and Heck cattle were proposed to be introduced in the protected zones. The area is a breeding ground for golden eagles. Cormorants, cranes, ravens and crows are also noted, white-tailed eagle frequents the area and black stork, red kite and short-eared owl have been recorded occasionally on the bog. Tofte Lake is an ornithological haven, where native ducks breed and migrating ducks flock apart from gray geese, marsh harrier and Montagu's harrier. The lake has Denmark's largest cormorant colony of about 4,000 pairs. 
In September 2011 a large common European conservation programme was initiated for Lille Vildmose under the LIFE Programme. It is budgeted at € 5,5 million and scheduled to terminate with the end of the year 2016.
The Aurochs is an extinct species of large wild cattle that once inhabited Europe, Asia and North Africa. In 2003 the back-breeding project Projekt Urokse ('Project Aurochs') was initiated in Lille Vildmose, in which a crossbred population of Heck cattle, Chianina and Sayaguesa was released under controlled conditions and is being bred and selected for heightened similarity to the extinct aurochs in both morphology (looks) and instincts (behaviour). The founding herd consisted of one Chianina × Heck bull, four Heck cows and one Sayaguesa × Heck cow, and in 2009 three Sayaguesa bulls were added. As of 2010, the herd had grown to a size of 56 individuals.
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- Clarke & Merlin 2013, p. 176.
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- Bell et al. 2008, p. 100.
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- Bell, Simon; Simpson, Murray; Tyrväinen, Lisa; Sievänen, Tuija; Pröbstl, Ulrike (12 December 2008). European Forest Recreation and Tourism: A Handbook. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-203-87207-9.
- Clarke, Robert; Merlin, Mark (1 September 2013). Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-95457-1.
- Kjærgaard, Thorkild (2 November 2006). The Danish Revolution, 1500-1800: An Ecohistorical Interpretation. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-03043-4.
Media related to Lille Vildmose at Wikimedia Commons