News/All pieces

More wet peatlands than expected

New study in Nature

8/02/2023 The global loss of wetlands is smaller than previously assumed, according to the recent study Extensive global wetland loss over the last three centuries in the internationally renowned scientific journal Nature. Peatland scientists from the University of Greifswald, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, have contributed data from their Global Peatland Database and from the historical holdings of the local peatland library. The results now help to better assess the climate impact of peatlands, e.g. to quantify the change in carbon storage and in methane emissions. It also allows conclusions to be drawn about the impact of wetland loss and how wetland restoration can be better planned .

The study by an authors' collective led by Standford University shows that only 21-35% of the world's wetlands have been lost since 1700, instead of 50-87% as previously thought. In a historically first reconstruction, the scientists combed through thousands of records of drainage and land-use change in 154 countries for the study to compare them with the current distribution of drained and altered wetlands to get a picture of the state since 1700.

"In terms of area, the loss is not as great as is often claimed. What seems to be good news at first glance, however, should not deceive us. Worldwide, about four million km² of wetlands have disappeared, of which about 0.5 million km² are wet peatlands. However, drained peatlands are responsible for 4-5% of global greenhouse gas emissions: they are relatively small areas but with huge consequences!" says Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Joosten, emeritus professor and co-author of the study.

On World Wetlands Day

Peatlands in audio

2/02/2023 On the occasion of the World Wetlands Day on 2nd February, Greifswald has "Peatland on your ears". On this day, for the first time an audio walk will be published via the local  Greifswald App and will take you to the peatlands around Greifswald. So - download the app onto your smartphone or tablet - and off you go.

The walk across the "meadows near Greifswald", which Caspar David Friedrich captured in his painting of the same name, is a bit like "I spy with my little eye". There is much to discover that is not visible at first glance. For instead of meadows, the painter's painting actually shows peatlands outside the city gates.

All those interested are cordially invited to try out the peatland walk on the World Wetlands Day on Thursday 2nd February. Together with Lord Mayor Dr. Stefan Fassbinder, the new professor for "Peatland Research / Peatland Science" at the University of Greifswald, Gerald Jurasinski, the SPD Member of Parliament Anna Kassautzki and the organic farmer Dörte Wolfgramm-Stühmeyer, they will walk across the Steinbecker Suburban polder. They will be accompanied by Christina Lechtape from the Succow Foundation, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, which was in charge of developing the walk in the MoKKa project, Thomas Beil, managing director of the Greifswald Agricultural Initiative, and moor manager Annie Wojatschke, who contributed to the audio walk. The meeting point is at 2 pm at the Steinbecker Vorstadt pumping station - with smartphone in hand and downloaded app, of course.

The audio walk is based on the brochure Moore bei Greifswald, published by the Succow Foundation.

Totally new: peatland professor and professorship

Welcome to Dr Gerald Jurasinski

16/01/2023 With Dr. rer. nat. Gerald Jurasinski, the new W3 professorship for Peatland Science at the University of Greifswald has been filled since the beginning of 2023. This makes the University of Greifswald the only university with a peatland science professorship in Germany. The creation of the professorship, agreed in 2018 by the University of Greifswald and the state government of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (M-V), takes the tradition and excellence of Greifswald's peatland research, as well as the high proportion of peatland in the state's land area into account.

The Greifswald Mire Centre, in which the University of Greifswald is a partner, is extremely pleased about the strengthening of research and teaching: "We have been engaging to establish this position with many allies since 2015 and are very grateful to all supporters that the professorship could finally be filled with Gerald Jurasinski," Dr. Greta Gaudig and Dr. Franziska Tanneberger from the Greifswald Mire Centre say. Dr. Gerald Jurasinski has ambitious plans for the professorship: "We need to make much faster progress in peatland rewetting. Our research will show how we can do better. In doing so, we not only want to generate knowledge, but also disseminate it and further develop Greifswald as a central hub of peatland expertise. Among other things, we want to continue building a network with many national and international partners that measures greenhouse gas emissions and other ecosystem services of peatlands in M-V and beyond. Our results will help us to act in the right way, especially with regard to climate protection."

Those interested can meet Dr Jurasinski at the public lecture “A brief history of research on greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands in northern Germany” on 17th January at 6 pm at the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg or during a short walk across Greifswald's peatlands on the occasion of World Wetlands Day on 2 February. The walk starts at 2 p.m. at the Stralsunder Straße bridge at the harbour.

For more information, see the GMC press release on the peatland professorship.

Out now: Peatland Atlas

The first ever - hot off the press and online

10/01/2023 Peatlands are not scary, they are incredibly important - the fight against the climate crisis, biodiversity conservation and simply for all of us. This is still known far too little. With the Peatland Atlas - Facts and Figures on Wet Climate Protectors, the publishers Heinrich Böll Foundation, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and the Michael Succow Foundation, partners in the Greifswald Mire Centre, are working to change that. On Tuesday 10th January, they will present the Peatland Atlas in a press conference in Berlin and online.

On 50 pages and with 52 illustrations, the Peatland Atlas 2023 not only highlights the history of peatlands, their importance as unique habitats for the global climate and biodiversity, and their destruction with local and global consequences. It also explains how we can protect peatlands and restore their functionality. It shows the potentials of wet peatlands for climate protection and opportunities for their wet use, paludiculture, and at the same time how politics and society can act now.

Paludiculture: How to and with what plants?

Potential Paludiculture Plants of the Holarctic - Cover (Collage: GMC)

Two new GMC publications show it

20/12/2022 You happen to have a peatland where you want to implement paludiculture, but don't know how? Convert an entire farm to "wet" agriculture - how can that be done? Or - you might be looking for the biomass from wet land for new products? For questions like these, the new Guide to Implementing Paludiculture (German only) within the GMC proceedings offers information. It aims at land managers, landowners, project sponsors, water and soil associations, government agencies, agricultural advisors, research institutions, and potential utilization companies. The guide covers five areas: Site suitability, planning and permitting for conversting sites to paludiculture, practical tips for establishment and management of sites, as well as utilisation of the biomass produced and support - including examples of implementation.

The publication Potential Paludiculture Plants of the Holarctic (English only) presents which plants are suitable for paludiculture in the Holarctic. In 440 pages, There are profiles of 95 plant species from the Database of Potential Paludiculture Plants (DPPP). Most are promising for sustainable wet land use on peatlands. Some might be considered critically since the paludiculture potential finds its limits, for example, in terms of new peat formation. In the plant portraits, comprehensive information has been compiled on the characterisation of the species, site requirements, cultivation as well as possible uses of the plant.

Why peatlands matter in 74 min and 4 chapters

Franziska Tanneberger and Hans Joosten explaining peatlands in the online course of ZEIT Akademie (Photo: ZEIT Akademie)

New: Online course by ZEITAkademie and GMC

8/12/2022 Peatlands as a multi-talent for climate, humans and nature – that seemed a sufficiently “burning” topic to ZEIT Akademie. In cooperation with the Greifswald Mire Centre th education provider produced an online course Peatlands as environmental protectors. It has four chapters and 74 minutes. Starring: Prof. Hans Joosten, scientist and one of the GMC’s founders, who has been awarded the German Environmental Prize in 2021 and the Federal Cross of Merit in 2022. He explains the basics on peatlands. Dr. Franziska Tanneberger describes why drained peatlands harm the climate and why we need peatland protection. The studied landscape ecologist and one of the two directors of the GMC is always in action for peatlands -from field work to world climate summits. Henning Voigt, an agricultural pioneer on peatland, takes the participants with him on his rewetted areas and tinkerer Torsten Galke invites to visit in the Paludiculture Tiny House. Dr. Johannes Merck of Michael Otto Environmental Foundation reports that even large companies do trecognise the economic potential in peatlands today. To develop a climate-friendly use of wet and rewetted areasareas is part of the toMOORow initiative, which promotes peatland rewetting as a nature-based solution to the climate crisis and species extinction, as well as an example of sustainable regional creation of added value through paludiculture.  

According to its own information, ZEIT Akademie works with the best experts in their respective fields, such as the climate scientist Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf. An important argument for the two GMC scientists. "For today's challenges, science must not remain in the ivory tower. We want to teach peatlands in a non-university context as well." says Franziska Tanneberger "Of course, the quality must not be lost in and the subject must not suffer due to severe briefness. In this course, that can be combined." Another consideration: The ZEITAkademie's offerings are aimed at private individuals, but primarily at companies for in-house training. A good opportunity to foster a change in a wider public perception of  peatlands - because peatlands are not scary, but incredibly important - for all of us.  

Global Peatland Assessment

Thur 17th Nov at COP27/Sharm el-Sheikh

16/11/2022 A first comprehensive assessment of global peatlands will be presented in an official side event State of the Worlds Peatlands – Global Peatlands Assessment: Evidence for action toward peatlands conservation at the World Climate Summit COP27 at 17th November 2022 from 13:15-14:45 (GMT+2). The assessment includes an updated version of the Global Peatland Map compiled by the Greifswald Mire Centre (GMC) and provides latest science on peatland distribution, trends, and pressures. Most importantly, it recommends actions for the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of peatlands, in particular for climate protection and adaptation to climate change.

At the side event, the GPA’s input information, spatial data generation, collation approaches, and the current gaps in coverage and resolution are presented in detail.
In a global context of the UNEA-4 Resolution on the “Conservation and Sustainable Management of Peatlands” the assessment might be a step towards a future Global Peatlands Inventory.

The side event is organised by Succow Foundation (MSF)/Greifswald Mire Centre (GMC) in cooperation with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Global Peatlands Initiative (GPI) and UNEP-WCMC together with the Convention on Wetlands.

Many peatlands, but there's room for more

Action Programme for Natural Climate Protection

28/10/2022 Peatland protection as a nature-based solution for effective climate protection is extensively considered in the Action Programme Natural Climate Protection (ANK), states the Greifswald Mire Centre in contributing to the German Environmental Ministry's online dialogue on this programme. But there is still some room for improvement. Here is a summary of the most important points:

  • The target of 5 million t CO2 eq. annual reduction from peatlands by 2030, which is also set in the Peatland Protection Strategy, is still too low. This is less than 10% of the current annual peatland emissions of 53 million t CO2.
  • The framing should change. Germany's peatlands are currently predominantly (85%) used for agriculture or forestry. The term "renaturation" suggests a natural development unaffected by humans after rewetting and the possibility of returning the peatlands to their former condition. In Germany, neither of these is possible. Therefore, the terms "rewetting" and "restoration" are more appropriate. These formulations express that the ANK also includes new, sustainable uses for peatlands.
  • The ANK can educate more people about peatlands and build long-term structures at federal, state and municipal level. In addition to voluntary measures, it should also make adjustments to planning and regulatory law, thus enabling common engagement of participating authorities at work level for a comprehensive landscape assessment.

MoorWissen revamped

MoorWissen - our relaunched information platform (Pic: greifswaldmoor )

Fresh colours, fresh information


More MoorWissen and more beautiful - that's what our platform now offers. We have thoroughly overhauled it, redesigned it and added new information. We want to offer appropriate information on peatlands and their importance for climate protection and biodiversity - ranging from small explanatory films to scientific studies - to people from laypersons to scientists. 

The section MoorWissen Summary offers a quick start. Supplementary to the brief explanations, there is an info cluster each on peatland in research, in practice and in politics. Here and on other pages, tile elements enable users to navigate in addition to the drop down menu. 

Detailed information can be found under Projects & best practise examples that the partners in the Greifswald Mire Center have carried out so far. Both can now be found in one overview. There is a total of 40 projects, most of them with a duration of several years - quite remarkable, in our opinion.  

New is a section on Moorpädagogik (German only), dealing with the mediation of peatlands and climate protection pedagogically, and the section Moore & Kunst (German only). From experimenting with biomass from peatlands, to exhibitions, workshops, residencies, poetry and finally this year's Peatland Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale - it's worth scrolling through these creative projects. 

An entire section is dedicated to paludiculture, divided and assorted to paludiculture on bogs and fens. It also includes tools such as a climate protection calculator for drained areas. 

Also, now on MoorWissen: an event calendar, our newsletter subscription and social media channels. But, there is one fly in the ointment, to be honest. There is still a lot do for presenting the entire page in English, but we are working on it.  We are happy to receive feedback and other suggestions about our revamped MoorWissen-Webpage via email to ! 

Duly awarded!

Portrait Hans Joosten (Foto: T. Dahms)

Federal Order of Merit for Hans Joosten

27/9/2022 Professor Hans Joosten from Greifswald will receive the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on 30th September for his research on and his personal commitment to peatlands and climate protection. Matching the slogan "Building Bridges", Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will honour the peatland scientist and further 20 persons on the occasion of the Day of German Unity at Bellevue Palace which is celebrated on the 3rd October. According to the Office of the Federal President, the eleven women and ten men are making an outstanding contribution to finding solutions to the global challenges of our time, such as the war against Ukraine, the Corona pandemic, poverty reduction, migration and climate change, as well as to strengthening cohesion in our country.  

Regarding the award for the native Dutchman, it says: "Thanks to Hans Joosten, it is known today: drained peatlands are climate killers, "rewetted" ones are climate savers. The biologist is a pioneer in the search for ways to protect the climate. At the University of Greifswald, he co-founded the Greifswald Mire Centre, one of the world's most sought-after research centres for climate protection. However, Hans Joosten has not left it at scientific research on the relevance of peatlands for the climate. He has shown practical ways to use the areas for agriculture again and in the process coined a whole new discipline, "paludiculture". Beyond his scientific work, he has always been involved in political debates, because climate protection needs everyone's action." 

Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Joosten had already met last year at an award ceremony. The Federal President had presented the scientist with the German Environmental Award 2021 of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU).