DPPP - Database of Potential Paludiculture Plants

Worldwide new sustainable management approaches for degraded peatlands are needed. The identification of crops for wet peatlands is essential for the implementation of paludiculture. Therefore the DPPP provides information on useful wetland plants to find new production options for paludiculture. For every entry a ‘Plant Portrait’ is generated, that collates information on plant characteristics and morphology, distribution and natural habitats, modes of cultivation and propagation and utilisation options (Abel et al. 2013).

The DPPP is based on MS Access 2010. For compiling the DPPP, first common crops (economic plants) adapted to waterlogged conditions (e.g. cranberry, wild rice) were collected and second typical peatland plants (e.g. Sphagnum, Ledum palustre) were analysed for potential use. Last but not least, crops already successfully established in paludiculture were identified.

Literature search included both primary (journals, books, proceedings etc.) and secondary sources of information (abstracts, internet resources and other bibliographic tools). Closely related species are treated as groups with similar characteristics and utilisation options, e.g. Sphagnum spp., Carex spp. or Salix spp. The Database of Potential Paludiculture Plants (DPPP) thus is a global overview of conceivable paludiculture plants and their uses; here an example.

To assess the paludiculture-potential of plants the DPPP defines four levels of suitability based on three criteria: preservation of peat soil, market potential and existing implementation. Preservation of peat soil is the primary concern of paludiculture. Thus, production focussing only on below ground plant parts is not eligible, since harvest would harm the peat soil. The market evaluation is based on a rough survey of internet and literature, in which the existence of a product, regardless of quantity and quality, was taken as evidence for a market. Also, promising potential market demands, e.g. for bioenergy crops, were taken into account. Since markets for bioenergy crops are rapidly evolving, there is substantial quest for more crops to satisfy the demand.

     Analysis of the potential for paludiculture

Not every species in the DPPP is suitable for paludiculture. Of 1128 entries in the DPPP 659 species could be assessed for their paludiculture-potential. About 300 of them have good or promising potential. Due to a lack of data 469 species could not be assessed, especially species from tropical climates. for better results further research and data gathering within the countries is necessary.

A book on potential paludiculture plants of the Holarctic (North America, Europe and Northern Asia) will be available soon to support further implementation of paludicultures. It will contain around 90 plant portraits of the most promising plants for paludiculture for the Holarctic.


Abel, S., Couwenberg, J., Dahms, T. & Joosten, H.: The Database of Potential Paludiculture Plants (DPPP) and results for Western Pomerania. – Plant Div. Evol. 130: 219–228


Susanne Abel

Peatland Studies and Palaeoecology
Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology,  Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald
Partner in the Greifswald Mire Center (GMC)

Soldmannstraße 15
17487 Greifswald
Tel. +49 3834 864026