News/All pieces

Peatlands at COP25

Peatland panel at COP25 (Photo: J. Peters)

Summary: Topic set, huge need for action

13/12/2019 On 13th December the UNFCCC Conference in Madrid came to an end after tough negotiations. The summary of the peatland and climate team of the Greifswald Mire Centre on site: Unsatisfactory to sobering. The topics of peatland and climate protection, restoration and sustainable use were more present than ever before in the conference's supporting programme. On the opening day, the GMC had organized a side event "Mapping, Monitoring and Climate-Friendly Management of Peatlands" together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Japanese Agency for International Cooperation (JICA) and the Global Environmental Centre (GEC) from Malaysia. On 4th December, a theme day in the Indonesian country pavilion focused on climate-friendly peatland management, especially in tropical latitudes. On 5th December, the Global Peatlands Initiative, of which the GMC is a founding member, presented itself in the German national pavilion. Internationally, politicians as well as representatives of NGOs see wet and rewetted peatlands as an efficient nature-based solution for climate protection and adaptation to climate change.


GMC funding granted

NUE supports our work from Greifswald to Brussels

07/12/2019 For the next two years, the Norddeutsche Stiftung für Umwelt und Entwicklung (NUE) is supporting the development of the Greifswald Mire Centre. Scientific expertise on peatland is to be transferred to voluntary organisations and politics. The GMC leaders Dr. Franziska Tanneberger and Greta Gaudig recently spoke with Vorpommern farmers and nature conservationists, Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU parliamentarians about the potentials of moor climate protection. As a "generational change" is ongoing, NUE will support the partners in the GMC to strengthe capacity and maintain the GMC as a successful and thriving partnership. The University of Greifswald, partner in the GMC, will set up the first permanent professorship for peatland sciences in Germany in 2020 with the support of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the Stifterverband der deutschen Wissenschaft.


Specifically: 5 measures for CAP

Proposals for peatland and climate protection

06/12/2019 In Germany, organic soils account for only 7% of the area used for agriculture, but cause 37% of the emissions from agriculture. The EU average is similar. However, the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU) does not take this into account. In the policy paper Promoting climate protection through peatland protection - Using the opportunities of CAP reform (German only), the Greifswald Mire Centre and Landcare Germany (DVL) now make proposals for the reorientation of the CAP in Germany that will hopefully feed into the upcoming reform of the CAP. The partners in the MoKli project suggest, among other things, more pilot areas and support programmes for sustainable peatland use and the recognition of climate protection achievements by ‚carbon farmers‘.


Sphagnum Species of the World

Cover "Spaghnum Species of the World"

New book by GMC’s peat moss expert

05/12/2019 The comprehensive volume Sphagnum Species of the World by Sphagnum expert Dr. Dierk Michaelis has just been released in English. Peat mosses are of key ecological and economic importance among the mosses and populate almost all continents. In the book 292 Sphagnum species are described in detail and presents keys for their identification, supplemented by data on habitats, geographical distribution and lists of synonyms. 435 pages strong, the volume issued by Schweizerbart Science Publishers represents the updated, supplemented English language version of the author's original peat moss flora of 2011 (in German), the first overall presentation of Sphagnum since Carl Warnstorf's "Sphagnologia Universalis" of 1911. Thus, the Greifswald Mire Centre proudly congratulates its member and author Dierk Michaelis!


Reform = opportunity

Peatland experts with EU-parlamentarians

Talks on peatland farming in the EU Parliament

04/12/2019 The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is decisive for the agricultural use of peatlands in Europe. Although peatlands account for only 4% of agricultural land in the EU average, emissions from agricultural peatlands contribute 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. With the current reform of agricultural policy, there is a great opportunity to initiate a change in peatland management in Europe, to promote the management of rewetted peatlands and to phase out support on drained peatlands (see also recent GMC policy brief). Dr. Franziska Tanneberger (GMC), together with colleagues from Wetlands International European Association and Interreg Care-Peat project, spoke about peatland distribution and climate relevance in Europe to 13 members of the European Parliament, among them Vice President Mairead McGuinness (Ireland) and agricultural policy expert Peter Jahr (Germany).


Sit-in in the fisherman’s fountain

Greifswald Mire Centre at global climate strike

29/11/2019 Despite chilly temperatures and drab weather the GMC members came for a sit-in in the Greifswald fisherman’s fountain during the global climate strike at 29th November. While they had demonstrated in the same fountain in September - but standing - they now wanted to show: The climate crisis is getting more dramatic than anticipated and sea levels are rising. Worldwide three times more people will be affected by coastal flooding than hitherto predicted. We will not only get wet feet, but climate change will severely affect us if we do not take action. Global climate goals cannot be achieved without rewetting of peatlands worldwide. It is one of the most time- and cost-effective measures for climate protection but still rarely considered. In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 30 % of the federal state’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by peatland drainage – an amount that could largely be mitigated by rewetting.


In search of Nile Basin peat

Attracting attention in search of peat in the Nile basin

Mission to Nile Basin wetlands completed

09/11/2019 As part of the project „Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of Ecosystem Services of Wetlands of Transboundary Relevance in the Nile Basin“ jointly implemented by GMC with Wetlands International and Nile Basin Initiative, an assessment of CO2 emissions avoidance potential of the Nile Basin wetlands is being prepared. A field trip to Ghana (in particular to Keta Lagoon wetlands) and Kenya took plave in late October/early November. The search for peatlands was based at peatland (probability) maps of GMC’s Global Peatland Database. At the end of rainy season, several shallow and partly also deeper (2 m and more) peatlands could be mapped.


Climate protection and agriculture

KTBL visits GMC and paludiculture pilot farms in Vorpommern

24/12/2019 The Kuratorium für Bau und Technik in der Landwirtschaft (KTBL) is an association of agriculture, science, commercial industry, administration and consultancy with the task of technology transfer; it is supported by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). Prof. Dr. Christine Tamásy (University of Greifswald) mediated a visit of the GMC by the executive committee and the general management to get information about research and implementation projects. The view into the soil of an agriculturally used, wet grassland area at Lake Kummerow gives a special impression: Thanks to paludiculture, the carbon in the peat remains protected and the area is nevertheless productively used for biomass for local heating. The successful cooperation between Greifswald University and agricultural enterprises in establishing a cattail paludiculture on rewetted peatland was also praised, and the KTBL would like to make greater use of the expertise of the GMC in future.


PRIMA: Milestone reached

Typha and reed now grow on 8 ha

26/09/2019 After several months of preparation, young Typha seedlings were planted mechanically and reed seedlings were planted manually on the 8 hectare pilot site at Neukalen (MV), which was then rewetted. Within the next 2.5 years, the field trial will generate practical information on the technical implementation, plant growth, biomass quality and economic efficiency of Typha and reed paludicultures. With good growth, the first harvest is planned for next year. Additionally, mesocosm experiments, genetic investigations and knowledge transfer are carried out in the Paludi-PRIMA project. The project of University of Greifswald and Research Centre for Agriculture and Fisheries Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).


Installing the pilot site for cultivation of reed and typha wihtin the PRIMA project (Photos: T. Dahms)

Fact paper on Germany’s climate programme 2030

Peatland protection as nature-based solution

23/09/2019 The document "Key points for the climate protection programme 2030" published by the Federal Government on 20.09.2019 names sector-specific measures. For the agriculture and forestry sector, no concrete implementation steps have been laid down under "Protection of peat soils / Reduction of peat use in growing media (36)". The GMC fact paper "Peat soil protection as a nature-based solution in the climate protection programme 2030 - rapid cessation of peatland drainage necessary for effective climate protection" compiles the initial situation, potentials and concrete proposals on four pages.