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2022

by RB

No more delay in EU Nature Restoration Law   


09.06.2022 Nature-based climate protection through the restoration of ecosystems, for example peatlands, offers an outstanding opportunity to combat the unabatedly progressing climate and biodiversity crisis - and an opportunity that must not be squandered. However, the EU Commission has repeatedly postponed the binding EU Nature Restoration Law, which was actually planned for the end of 2021 - first to March 2022. Now it is to be published on 22nd June 2022. In an open letter to the Commission, a network of more than 60 organisations from environmental protection, nature conservation, science and agriculture, coordinated by the International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG), is therefore calling for a "law now". In the EU, however, more than 50% of peatlands are in poor condition, they release large amounts of greenhouse gases as well as nitrates due to drainage, and more and more peatland animals and plants are being lost due to habitat destruction. Rewetting peatlands just offers massive improvement - and in many cases these areas can still be used for agriculture and forestry! With paludiculture, i.e. "wet agriculture and forestry", which has recently also become part of European agricultural policy, value creation, bioeconomy and circular economy can be developed in peatland-rich rural areas. In order to draw attention to the great importance of peatlands and to emphasise the need for ambitious rewetting and restoration of peatlands in the new EU Nature Restoration Law - and not to remove them from it, as is feared - a broad network of more than 60 organisations from environmental protection, nature conservation, science and agriculture has today addressed an urgent appeal to the EU Commission. They demand to defend the success of the EU Green Deal in the EU Nature Restoration Act and to push for an ambitious policy for the rewetting of drained peatlands in Europe. To achieve the climate change targets of the Paris Agreement and the EU Climate Change Act, a transformation pathway for all peatlands in the EU should lead to net CO2 emissions by 2050. The EU should take the lead in the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration and achieve ambitious biodiversity targets at the upcoming Biodiversity Convention conference in Kunming, China.

by RB

The Venice Agreement

  

31.05.2022 Peatland and art are combined in an installation at this year's Venice Biennale. Artists and peatland scientists, including some of the Greifswald Mire Centre, have joined forces in a worldwide network. With an art installation and happening they want to achieve more for peatlands also politically.  Representatives from art, science, nature conservation, climate policy and indigenous peoples announced the Venice Agreement at the 59th Art Biennale in the lagoon city on World Peatland Day, 2nd June 2022. Following the term “Paris Agreement on climate protection”, the Venice Agreement shall point out, that the preservation and restoration of peatlands is crucial for climate and people on our planet. It was signed, among others, by the Greifswald peatland scientist Prof. Hans Joosten, winner of the German Environmental Award.  The agreement is part of the art initiative Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol an its peat moss installation in the Chilean Pavilion at this year's Biennale. There, the international artist collective Ensayos has set up a peat moss lawn with a video installation for this purpose in one of the historic Venetian warehouse buildings. A fair share of support was given by the Greifswald Mire Centre and the company Moorkultur Ramsloh, which harvested the peat mosses on their research sites in Lower Saxony, Germany, and organised delivery to Venice. The pavillon’s visitors can now discover the peat mosses and the moist oscillating surface they form with all senses. The video sequences convey the fascination of the peatlands in sound and vision. Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol is primarily dedicated to the peatlands of Patagonia and the indigenous population there. At the same time, it shows that the preservation of nature, including the peatlands, is in the interest of all present and future societies and that the destruction of nature to date can only be reversed globally through the joint efforts of many local initiatives

by NK

Peatland plants are the best CO2 reservoirs

Bog in Archangelsk oblast  (Photo: M. Succow)

New paper in Science

06/05/2022 Wetlands such as peatlands, salt marshes, mangrove forests and seagrass beds store about five times more carbon per square metre than forests and 500 times more than oceans, an international team including Greifswald peatland scientist Prof. Dr. Hans Joosten has now shown in a recent article Recovering wetland biogeomorphic feedbacks to restore the world's biotic carbon hotspots in the renowned academic journal Science. The reason: In wet ecosystems, plant growth and carbon deposition in the soil stimulate each other. The paper, co-authored by scientists of the Netherlands Institute of Oceanography (NIOZ), Utrecht University, Radboud University Nijmegen, the University of Groningen and the University of Greifswald, also contains good news: protection and restoration of such wetlands can help humans to reduce the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in view of the climate crisis. And - we are getting better at managing and restoring these ecosystems.

by RB

Jung&Naiv on peatlands&climate

Live on YouTube on May 6th

Naive questions about peatlands and climate  Tilo Jung of Jung & Naiv will ask Dr. Franziska Tanneberger of the Greifswald Mire Centre tomorrow live on YouTube. Tune in starting at 5 p.m..  Jung&Naiv is already collecting input and questions on twitter @TiloJung and @JungNaiv.

by RB

Photovoltaics on peatland

Yes, and only if... says new info paper

April 8th, 2022 Photovoltaic systems are already being built on peatlands – but on drained peatlands that are strong sources of CO₂. There are hardly any legal requirements for this so far. Photovoltaic plants on rewetted peatlands could provide a "collateral benefit," said Bernhard Krüsken, secretary general of the German Farmers' Association, at the conference "Peatland Protection is Climate Protection" in Berlin on 28th March 2022. The Greifswald Mire Centre had already worked on this preliminarily in a new information paper. The combination of photovoltaic systems and peatland rewetting would be able to replace fossil fuels and reduce CO₂ emissions at the same time. However, there is still a great need for testing and development. Therefore, the GMC recommends an area limitation for the time being and has compiled hints for a sustainable implementation.

by RB

What must happen now on peatlands! 

 

Conference "Peatland Protection is Climate Protection"  

Wet peatlands are natural climate protection! That’s what scientists of the Greifswald Mire Centre together with practitioners and partners clearly stated at yesterday's conference "Peatland Protection is Climate Protection" in front of 200 participants in Berlin and just as many viewers in the livestream. Up to seven percent of Germany's greenhouse gas emissions can be saved by rewetting drained peatlands. It therefore represents one of the most effective measures for the "Natural Climate Protection" action programme announced today by Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.  

"More crises must not be allowed to accumulate. Wet peatlands are natural climate protection and therefore rewetting is one of the most effective measures for it in Germany. That is why they play an important role in the new action programme budgeted at 4 billion Euros," said Federal Minister Lemke at the conference.   

The expertise exists. Scientists of the Greifswald Mire Centre and partners have researched the climate impact of wetlands and tested paludiculture together with farmers. Innovative entrepreneurs have developed regional and ecological products from it. Individual German states have issued carbon certificates from rewetting. Now it is a matter of implementing climate protection through peatland conservation large scale, as the conference showed. Representatives from nature conservation, agriculture and companies agree that political, administrative and financial framework conditions still need to be created.  

Prof. Dr. Kai Niebert, President of the German Nature Conservation Circle, described the rewetting of peatlands as a task for society as a whole, similar in dimension to the coal phase-out. In terms of climate protection, the clock showed five to twelve, while in terms of biodiversity it has already run out, he stated. If we still wanted to ensure food security, we now had to think differently and had no choice when it comes to peatland protection, Niebert said. This now be driven forward decisively and jointly.  

Bernhard Krüsken, Secretary General of the German Farmers' Association, considered the rewetting of peatlands to be a generational project, just as drainage had been. He thought it  important to involve everyone, to communicate honestly about the scope of the measures and to promote them in the long term. Land users must be offered alternatives and Paludi-PV, i.e. photovoltaics on rewetted moorland, could be a 'collateral benefit', Krüsken said. 

by RB

Accelerated Peatland Protection in Lower Saxony

The GMC supports the motion of B90/The Greens

15/03/2022
The GMC supports the motion of B90/Greens Yesterday, the Greifswald Mire Centre and other experts were invited to a hearing in the Environment Committee of the Lower Saxony Parliament to comment on the motion of the Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen parliamentary group "Peatland protection = species protection + climate protection" (Drs. 18/10170). Since Lower Saxony owns about 670,000 hectares of organic soils and is thus the German federal state richest in peatlands. The peatlands are predominantly used agriculturally, especially as grassland, and drained for this purpose. These areas thus cause high greenhouse gas emissions, which makes Lower Saxony frontrunner in terms of greenhouse gas emissions from organic soils among the federal states. Only rewetting can stopp these emissions. In the past 40 years, an average of 950 hectares of peatland per year have been rewetted, and the GMC calculates that 20,000 hectares per year need to be rewetted in order to achieve the Paris climate protection targets. In the GMC’s statement supports the motion of Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen in many points and explains further ones in order to substantially accelerate the peatland protection in Lower Saxony

by RB

Also via livestream 

Conference "Peatland Protection is Climate Protection" 28 March 2022

Due to the high number of registrations, the Greifswald Mire Centre now also offers a livestream of the conference "Peatland Protection is Climate Protection” on 28 March 2022 in Berlin starting at 10 a.m.. How can annual greenhouse gas emissions from peatland soils be reduced by five million tonnes of CO2 equivalents by 2030? Scientists, farmers, practitioners and politicians, including Steffi Lemke, the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, will discuss this at the conference. The conference is aimed at parliamentarians, representatives of ministries and authorities from federal, state and local governments, representatives of associations from agriculture and water management, climate protection and nature conservation, as well as further decision-makers.

by RB

3 kg, 544 pages - Germany's peatlands

Book launch 28th March in Berlin

03/03/2022 At 3 kg, the recently published book “Moore in Deutschland” is not only a heavyweight on the scale, but also in terms of content. It presents Germany's 115 most important peatlands on 544 pages and with 908 photographs. On Monday 28th March, the authors Prof. em. Dr. Michael Succow and Dr. Lebrecht Jeschke will present the book at 7 p.m. at the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania State Representation in Berlin. During the moderated discussion, co-authors Dr. Franziska Tanneberger and Dr. Greta Gaudig will also discuss the importance of peatlands for climate protection on the panel. During the day the conference “Peatland Protection is Climate Protection” is entirely dedicated to the same topic from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the State Representation of Lower Saxony in Berlin, which will also be offered via livestream.

by RB

250 boxes of sphagnum mosses for Venice

Pavilion on peat moss at the Biennale

A pavilion with a peat moss installation is to be erected at this year's Venice Biennale. With the project named TURBA TOL - HOL HOL TOL the artist collective ENSAYOS and scientists from the Greifswald Mire Centre want to draw attention to the importance of peatlands for mankind. They are getting 250 boxes with the delicate plants underway. They will harvest the peat mosses by hand from 2nd-4th March on a cultivation and research area in the Hankhauser Moor in Lower Saxony. These will fill Chile's Biennale pavilion. There, especially in Patagonia, huge areas of previously intact raised bogs need to be protected from mining and infrastructure projects. Peat moss experts of Greifswald University and the peat plant Moorkultur Rahmsloh can provide these plants, which are strongly threatened and protected in natural habitats. Since 2004, both institutions have been conducting joint research on peat mosses. They installed an experimental area for the cultivation of peat mosses near Rastede in Lower Saxony, which today covers 17 ha. On Thursday and Friday 3rd-4th March, the scientists plan to harvest 250 boxes of peat mosses there together with the New York artist Christy Gast. A small art act to follow: The sphagnum mosses must arrive in Venice undamaged by 15th March! The Biennale itself begins on 23rd April and runs until 27th November this year. Half a million visitors are expected there. During this time, the mosses will live and grow as if in an artificial bog. A specially installed system will monitor and display the growth parameters of the peat moss carpet. It informs visitors on the carbon accumulated and the water needed. In order to acquire the necessary knowledge on peatland and climate issues for the installation of the pavilion, artist Gast is currently spending a residency in Greifswald. The city surrounded by peatland offers scientific expertise of the Greifswald Moor Centrum and, as the birthplace of Caspar David Friedrich, also a proud artistic heritage. The residency is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Municipal Office for Education, Culture and Sport of the University and Hanseatic City of Greifswald.


by NK

In the Nile catchment - peatlands?

Explaining the use of papyrus in Uganda  (Photo: J. Peters)

Conference of the Nile Basin Initiative with GMC

24/01/2022 The Nile Basin Initiative organized a 3-day conference on peatlands in the Nile catchment area from January 19th - 21st January in Kampala with the support of the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Succow Foundation. The conference drew attention to the fact that the Nile and its outflow are strongly influenced by the water regulation of tropical peatlands in the upper catchment area on the Great Lakes in East Africa. It also made aware of these areas as vast carbon stores.

In an study on local peatland distribution in 2019 the Greifswald Mire Centre could show how much carbon these peatlands potentially store and could thus arouse the interest of the countries bordering the river. Thereupon, government and civil society representatives from Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan attended the conference. They now have a better understanding of where to find peatlands and how they work. The topics included a climate-friendly management of peatlands and value chains for products from wet peatlands. Papyrus, a widespread peatland plant, is traditionally harvested along the Nile and its high-quality fibers are processed. Given the growing population, this form of paludiculture is not sufficient for a livelihood of many. To ensure no further areas are drained, use in paludiculture must be further developed. With the conference closing the governments of the region widely agreed on this. The Succow Foundation is already working with partners and entrepreneurs in the DIAPOL-CE project on creative ideas for this.