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.
2 foundations + 1 cooperation = a plus for peatland and climate
Environmental Foundation Michael Otto and GMC cooperating
02/02/2021 The rewetting of peatlands offers a potential for ecosystem-based climate protection as well as for adaptation, which is above-average but so far barely used. Given the climate crisis, it is urgent to use this potential and to set ambitious goals as this: By 2050 almost all drained peatlands must be rewetted - an Herculean task! A transformation pathway must set ambitious interim goals and offer perspectives for involving a large number of partners.
Luckily, social awareness for peatlands is growing right now. Federal and regional politics include measures for peatland rewetting in climate protection plans. Also, NGOs and companies are paying more attention to them. Therefore it is crucial to establish new and strong alliances that support peatlands as a nature-based solution for climate protection and as spaces for bioeconomy and green growth. A close link between science and practice must be guaranteed.
The Environmental Foundation Michael Otto and the Succow Foundation, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, will therefore begin a long-term cooperation on peatland climate protection in 2021. Their extensive networks, experience and competencies are strategically brought together. The project pursues three goals: 1. The practical demonstration of the potential of peatland protection for the protection of climate and biodiversity. 2. Activation of commercial enterprises for the sustainable use of wet peatlands through added value from paludiculture and through carbon credits. 3. The advocacy of improved framework conditions for peatland protection in the climate and agricultural policy of the federal government, the federal states and the EU. We look forward to keeping you informed about the project’s progress.
Titel: RRR2021 – registration + programme now online
100 presentations, passionate keynotes and arty side events
02/02/2021 The registration for the virtual conference "Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands - RRR2021" 9th - 11th March 2021 is now open and the preliminary programme online. RRR2121 will share and widen knowledge about paludiculture worldwide. There will be passionate keynote speakers and more than 100 scientific oral and poster presentations in 21 parallel sessions. The session on “Finance options for livelihoods from wet peatlands” is co-organised with FAO, UNEP, IUCN, and WWF. To make up for excursions - usually one of the most enjoyable parts of conferences – the RRR2021 takes you on four inspiring virtual paludiculture tours. A literature evening, workshops, and an art session are further highlights. Wetland-related products, techniques, and services can be seen and visited in the virtual exhibition hall. With discussion forums, open spaces, and face to face conversations the virtual platform provides best networking opportunities with scientists and practitioners from all over the world. The RRR2021 conference is co-organised by the partners in the Greifswald Mire Centre.
Rewetting, not watering down
Peatlands and paludiculture in the EU's CAP
27/11/2020 At the end of October the European Council of Agriculture Ministers and European Parliament proposed amendments for the common agricultural policy (CAP) of the European Union from 2023. Regarding peatlands these are completely insufficient. Peatlands are dealt with in the provisions for maintaining agricultural areas in "good agricultural and ecological condition". The Council of Agriculture Ministers has weakened and delayed the originally envisaged "Appropriate protection of wetlands and peatlands" to "Minimum protection of wetlands and peatlands by 2025 at the latest". The parliament, however, decided on the wording “Effective protection of wetlands and appropriate conservation of moors”, which leaves much room for interpretation. If a mere preservation of peatlands were meant, a great deal of this soil would continue to degrade through existing drainage and continue to cause alarmingly high greenhouse gas emissions. But there is a ray of hope: Paludiculture is intended to be eligible! This would equate wet farming to agriculture on drained soils and enable area-related direct payments. The information paper Peatlands in the EU CAP of the Greifswald Mire Centre and partners explains how peatlands and their sustainable use could be adequately taken into account in the CAP. The information paper GAEC 2 - Appropriate protection of wetlands and peat areas provides specific information on GAEC2 in Germany. Authors from Greifswald Mire Centre and the Landcare Germany have published an overview of the instruments for climate-friendly peatland use in Germany in “Reports on Agriculture”.
Bioeconomy with a climate protection bonus!
Online information day: utilisation of biomass from wet peatlands
03/11/2020On December 10th and 11th 2020, the Greifswald Mire Centre and Landcare Germany offer a free video event on bioeconomy with a climate protection bonus - utilisation of peatland biomass, each from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. The session on the first day deals with material use e.g. as building material, that on the second day deals with energetic use and production of substrates. The information event provides a practical overview of how biomass from wet and rewetted peatlands can be used, which sales markets there are, and how these can be adapted and established for reeds, Sedges, Cattails or peat moss with presentations from companies and experts.
Biomass from wet peatlands is still a demanding raw material for which the sales markets still have to be further developed. It can contribute to climate protection in various ways: by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the peat soil used under wet conditions, by replacing fossil raw materials and by long-term carbon storage, e.g. in building materials. Whether as packaging, moulding, insulating material, peat substitute or for generating heat or electricity - every product entails also climate protection. To register, write a short e-mail to email@example.com. You will then receive a dial-in link for the event. The event is organized as part of the MoKli project. The project is funded as part of the National Climate Protection Initiative (NKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
Bird of the year - there can only be one!
Votes required for the Aquatic Warbler
30/10/2020 The election campaign has started: The nominations for the Bird of the Year 2021 competition in Germany run until December 15, 2020. #TeamSeggi, including the Greifswald Mire Centre, is committed to “Seggi first”. Make the little bird great again and support our nomination for the Aquatic Warbler!
The Aquatic Warbler is threatened with extinction worldwide. It has not been recorded as breeding bird in Germany since 2014. The "Seggi" lives in sedge stocks of wet fens. With the extensive drainage of peat soils, it has almost disappeared from Germany. The Aquatic Warbler is also an indicator of intact peatlands and thus a small, winged ambassador for the climate. And there is hope: in the past year, Aquatic Warblers were brought from Belarus to Lithuania and resettled there in restored fens. The nomination for “Bird of the Year 2021” would not only give the Aquatic Warbler an upswing, but would draw attention to peatlands and their importance for climate protection. The Aquatic Warbler Conservation Handbook summarizes the current state of knowledge on ecology, habitat management and protection of the Aquatic Warbler. Information is also provided on the website of the Aquatic Warbler Conservation Team (AWTC), which also includes scientists of the GMC.
Solar and wind power in peatlands?
Only under wet conditions!
30/09/2020 Renewable energies such as wind and solar power are indisputably an important contribution to climate protection. However, if the systems are built on peatlands, they should go hand in hand with peatland rewetting or at least not hinder it. The new position paper on solar and wind power plants on peat soils (German only) of the Greifswald Mire Centre shows that e.g. in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the rewetting of peatlands could reduce emissions twice as much as the local wind power plants currently do and even seven times as much as the solar plants in the state currently avoid. A combination with the use of biomass from paludiculture on rewetted peatlands would also produce renewable raw materials as an alternative to fossil raw materials and fuels.
Three weeks + art + tiny house
First paludiculture artist’s residency launched
17/08/2020 Creating art for paludiculture in a tiny house built from climate-friendly paludiculture materials and located right beside the wet peatland - this triple combination is the idea of the paludiculture artist’s residences, which the Greifswald Mire Centre together with the BURG Giebichenstein University of Art in Halle are offering this year. Now the first fellow has moved into the mobile home currently located on a rare restored coastal flood peatland at the Greifswald Bodden coast: Graphic designer and BURG graduate Vreni Knödler will work in the tiny house for three weeks. The Greifswald Mire Centre is looking forward to see what an artist’s delving into the complex ecological issues of peatlands, climate protection and paludiculture will bring about. The results are intended to contribute to changing the social dialogue on peatlands and to raise more awareness on their significance for climate protection and their possible sustainable use in the current perception. The surrounding landscape as well as the building materials made from paludiculture provide plenty of inspiration. The mobile and energy-efficient tiny house features, among other things, plywood made from wet alder, wall insulation made from cattails and a roof made from reed.
Paludiculture in a twin pack
Cattail and reed to optimise peat moss growth
31/07/2020 To provide purified water for irrigating Sphagnum farming sites OPTIMOOS project now planted filter basins with a total size of 3,200 m² with cattail and reed. This is intended to promote Sphagnum as the target species , but at the same time all three paludiculture plants produce raw material for horticultural substrates. In the joint project OptiMOOS the four partners (Universities of Greifswald, Rostock and Oldenburg, Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Gartenbau Hannover-Ahlem) are researching the optimisation of Sphagnum farming with regard to water management, climate balance, biodiversity and product development. It is funded by the Ministry for Environment, Energy and Climate Protection of Lower Saxony and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The OPTIMOOS-project was launched in 2019, but peat mosses have been successfully cultivated on 14 hectares at the peatland ‘Hankhauser Moor’ (near Oldenburg, Lower Saxony) since 2011.