Removing barriers to peatland climate protection
New information paper on conversion to paludiculture
30/6/2021 Paludiculture with wetland species such as reeds, cattail and peat mosses is a good way to continue to use peatlands productively after water levels have been raised for peatland climate protection. In order to establish such permanent crops on previous grassland, the regulations on grassland conservation must be observed. Any conversion of permanent grassland into paludiculture must be approved. In addition, there is an obligation to establish new grassland (on arable land) as replacement. This obligation to quantative grassland maintenance is an obstacle to the implementation of paludiculture and should be reconsidered for peat soils.
In the MoKli project, there was an expert discussion with representatives of authorities of the federal states rich in peatlands. They discussed background to grassland protection, differences between mineral and peat soils, the application of existing exemption regulations and possible new special regulations to reduce the obstacle. The new information paper Guidelines for grassland conservation when converting to paludiculture (German only) summarises the legal framework and the main points of discussion.
A current opportunity to improve framework conditions for conversion of drainage-based peatland use to paludiculture is offered by the legal framework for the new funding period of the Common Agricultural Policy from 2023 onwards. While no special provision for paludiculture has been included in the Conditionalities Act in Germany, which regulates minimum standards such as permanent grassland maintenance, the more detailed legal regulation accompanying the Act could allow for the waiver of establishing replacement areas. A major obstacle to paludiculture and voluntary peatland climate protection would thus be removed.
24h online Peat-Fest 2021
GMC’s contributions at 29th May
29/05/2021 At the 24h online Peat-Fest 2021 of the group RE-PEAT Hans Joosten is giving a 2h literary session on “Selma Ruoff: The mind of a scientist, the soul of a poet” at 21:30-23:30 CEST. Ruoff was an in-between between Russia and Germany, science and poetry, heaven and hell, gulag and freedom. Hear about the peatlands she studied, the people she met and the life she lived.
The session “Reimagening the #CAP” is offering future-minded perspectives and alternatives to current plans of agricultural policy within the EU. In the panel discussion at 14:15-15:15 CEST: Sophie Hirschelmann from Greifswald Mire Centre, Harriet Bradley from Birdlife, Silvia Contin from Good Energies Alliance and Sommer Ackerman from Withdraw the CAP. Tickets are free, but donations welcome when signing up for the event.
The Greifswald Mire Centre is pleased to contribute to the Peat-Fest again. First launched in 2020 it is the original and only 24 hour online festival completely dedicated to peatlands. The organiser RE-PEAT is a youth-led group using collaboration, education and a process of re-imagining to shift the peatland paradigm and push for peatland restoration and preservation.
Lithuania: EU frontrunner in peatland recovery
16 million Euro reserved for restoring 8000 ha
20/05/2021 Amazing news from Lithuania: The investment for 16 mln. Euro has been earmarked in the Lithuanian EU Recovery and Resilience Facility plan for restoration of 8000 ha of currently drained agricultural peatlands. It was submitted to the European Commission on 17th May. The measure aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculturally used peatlands by reversing negative impacts of drainage until 2026 and paving the road for further upscaling. So far, restoration projects were concentrating on rewetting protected raised bogs. Now, Lithuania is targeting agriculturally utilized fens which afford intensive cooperation of institutions, NGOs and land users but hold a huge potential as nature-based solution for climate action, especially in a peatland rich country like Lithuania. This is also an affirming result of the successful cooperation of the Lithuanian Foundation for Peatlands restoration and Conservation (FPRC) and the Succow Foundation, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre. Around Baisogala, the organisations are rewetting agricultural land for carbon credits and could induce their experiences into the now accepted “New Generations’ Lithuania”-plan. For restoring peatlands in the Baltics, the Succow Foundation is also engaged in the EU-funded projects DESIRE and LifeOrgBalt.
The EU Recovery and Resilience Facility will make €672.5 billion in loans and grants available to support reforms and investments undertaken by Member States. The aim is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the Covid19 pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.
Peatlands in EU Biodiv Strategy
GMC position paper gives recommendations
28/04/2021 Healthy peatlands can contribute as nature-based solutions to the achievement of the European Green Deal and to the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030. Hence, they need to be sufficiently protected and restored. How to do this is described in the GMC’s position paper Protecting and Restoring Peatlands – Targets and Recommendations for Peatlands in the EU Biodiversity Strategy. It lists the co-benefits of restoration, a qualitative as well as a quantative approach and principles to be included in the legislative proposal.
As claimed by the European Commission the biodiversity strategy will put Europe on the path to ecological recovery by 2030. The strategy, which is not a legislative proposal, has been adopted already by the European Council and still needs to be endorsed by the European Parliament. Votes are foreseen for May and June 2021.
RRR2021 conference now documented
Key messages, presentations and virtual excursions online
23/04/2021 From 9th-11th March 2021 the partners in the Greifswald Mire Centre organised the virtual 3rd conference on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands - RRR2021. More than 300 scientists and practitioners from 25 countries around the world shared their knowledge about paludiculture. Now, the key messages of the conference, the more than 100 presentations and posters are documented and available online.
You may find videos from two passionate keynotes and the special session on “Finance options for livelihoods from wet peatlands” co-organised with FAO, UNEP, IUCN and WWF on the YouTube channel of the Greifswald Mire Centre. Also some other highlights are to be revisited: The RRR2021 virtual excursions take you to bogs and fens, to rewetted peatlands, pilot sites for Sphagnum or Typha cultivation, a heating plant and a Paludiculture Tiny house. You also may enjoy some breathtaking peatland pictures presented by Tina Cliffey in her photography workshop. Concise information on the entire conference are given in the RRR2021 proceedings.
Do you know Betje Polak?
Meet the queen of tropical peatlands at PeNCIL
04/02/2021 Peatland expert and bibliophile Prof. Hans Joosten regularly present stories and facts around peatlands at public literature evenings in the Greifswald Peatland and Nature Conservation International Library (PeNCIL). For the conference RRR2021 Renewable resources from wet and rewetted peatlands he opens the doors of the library to the participants and invite you to listen about a strong woman, who laid the foundations of peatland research in the tropics under the most difficult conditions: Betje Polak - Queen of tropic peatlands. Participation is free but registration is required per e-mail to bibliothek[at]greifswaldmoor.de. All persons registered will be sent a zoom-link to log in.
What actually is paludiculture?
New GMC position paper provides definition for the CAP
04/02/2021 It just takes a sentence: “Paludiculture is the productive land use of wet and rewetted peatlands that preserves the peat soil and thereby minimizes CO2 emissions and subsidence.” The Greifswald Mire Centre and partners recommend this definition in a new briefing paper. Since paludiculture has been proposed as an “agricultural activity” in the amendments to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) legislative text, which is currently under negotation in the trilogue, a clear understanding of the term is now very important. In addition the GMC provides a list of Paludicultural plants and utilisation options (selection), which includes plant species already used in paludiculture and plant species with a promising paludiculture potential.
Results of the WETSCAPES research project
New comprehensive understanding of rewetted fens
04/02/2021 Research results from the four-year WETSCAPES project of the Universities of Rostock and Greifswald were presented by the participating scientists on February 24th - online, of course. Among other things, they found that studied rewetted peatlands are partly net CO2 sinks, emissions of methane play a smaller role than previously assumed, and peatlands may function as sink for nitrous oxide. Looking into the ground and the past showed that root growth in fens can be up to ten times higher than on mineral soils, and that drainage has lowered ecosystem services in fen-rich areas of northern Germany, some of them irreversibly. As part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's excellence research programme, the WETSCAPES project has pooled the local but internationally significant expertise in peatland research and provided a scientific basis for state policy makers and land owners. They can now decide even more reliably and consistently in favour of rewetting as a central climate protection measure of the state.
What a wet future might look like
New book describes a time after the "great rewetting"
04/02/2021 The agricultural and transport turnarounds are already history and the state agency for peatland research and revitalization, based in Greifswald, has been successfully established. There are no more subsidies for drained peat soils, but "snipe bonuses" for farmers – that's what a wet future could look like. In her new book "Der Braune Bär fliegt erst nach Mitternacht"( The brown bear flies only after midnight) the author Johanna Romberg describes our natural treasures and how we can rediscover and revive them. Romberg also describes the role the Greifswald Mire Centre plays in her scenarios. This chapter can also be read as an article on RiffReporter entitled "Die Rückkehr der Unken" ("The return of the toads": How new peatlands take carbon dioxide out of the air and help rare species).
„Wetlands and Water“ – World Wetlands Day 2021
GMC showcases peatlands as buffers and filters
02/02/2021 With the slogan “Wetlands and water” this year’s World Wetlands Day (WWD), Tuesday, February 2nd, draws attention to peatlands and their importance for the earth’s freshwater resources. The Greifswald Mire Centre (GMC) offers a new fact sheet (GMC factsheet Wetland Buffer Zones, greifswaldmoor.de) on peatlands as buffer zones that retain nutrients from agriculture and filter water and thus secure a livelihood for people and nature.
World Wetlands Day (WWD) has long been highlighting the situation of peatlands and other wetlands. It has been celebrated annually on February 2nd since 1997, when the Ramsar Convention, the international agreement for the protection of wetlands, was adopted in 1971. Sadly, 35% of the wetlands have been further destroyed by pollution, agriculture and overfishing since then, although they offer ecosystem services that are indispensable for humans: Peatlands filter and store water, also cool the landscape and offer a buffer in the event of flooding. They store carbon in their peat - twice as much as all the biomass of the World’s forests. And they offer space for recreation and even new income opportunities. Biomass from wet peatlands can be used as construction, fodder and heating material or as a substitute for fossil peat in horticulture.