Salon: Caspar and peatlands
Landscape painted, but also recognized?
10/02/2024 "Meadows near Greifswald" is one of the most famous works by the painter Caspar David Friedrich. It shows Greifswald and will even be on display in his home town in this year of the romantic painter' 250th anniversary, only ... it does not show meadows. The view up to the town's silhouette falls on drained peatlands, then as today. In the salon series of the Caspar David Friedrich peatland professor Hans Joosten will talk about this discrepancy, about Adelbert von Chamisso's "Untersuchung eines Torfmoors bei Greifswald", published almost at the same time (1824), and about the relationship between man and nature or landscape. The salon evening on February 22 at 7 p.m. in Ellernholzstr. 1-3 is free of charge, but registration is required.
Come to the construction site
Guided tour through peatland library for WWD
23/01/2024 To mark International Wetlands Day on February 2nd, “peatland pope” Prof. Hans Joosten is taking visitors - no, not into a peatland - but to the construction site, both analogue and online! To a building where inspiration will drip from the walls and tens of thousands of books in all genres and languages will be available on one topic: peatland. Renovation work is currently underway in the former lecture hall of the "Alte Chemie (Old chemistry)" at Greifswald, as this will be the new home of the Peatland and Nature Conservation International Library PeNCIL. With 50,000 publications, this special collection is an important part of the Greifswald Mire Centre and of international importance.
In 2024, boxes of books shall move into the listed hall and be accessible barrier-free in the high room with two galleries. Statics, financing, pollution issues - there were and still are many challenges to overcome on the way from the vision of a splendid peatland library to its realisation. Hans Joosten will guide visitors through the wing, which was built at the end of the 19th century, and tell them about its history, the complex mercury decontamination and the new peatland contents. If you can't be there on WWD, you can follow a "small library construction site tour" on the Greifswald Mire Centre Facebook and Instagram accounts that day.
On site, the meeting point is in the inner courtyard of Soldmannstrasse 16 (https://email@example.com,13.3655688,19z?entry=ttu). As the number of participants is limited, please register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some more info on World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day (WWD) has drawn attention to the importance of wetlands, including peatlands, every year on February 2 since 1997. On February 2nd the Ramsar Convention, the international agreement for the protection of wetlands, was adopted in 1971. Since last year, it has been recognized as an international day by the United Nations.
Due to pollution, drainage and agriculture, fires and overfishing, wetlands, including peatlands, are under threat or have already been destroyed worldwide. Yet they are guarantors of biodiversity and climate protection. Among other things, they offer people protection from drought and flooding, purify water and regulate the microclimate. In Germany, 95 % of former peatlands have been drained and are no longer recognizable as such today
The lecture hall "Old chemistry" of Greifswald University in renovation (Photod: S. Furtak)
Start for MOOSland
for tiny moss on large scale
11/01/2024 With MOOSland, a small plant is supposed to make a big impact – peat moss. This can be grown as a renewable raw material to replace peat in horticulture with great benefits for the climate and the economy. Over the next ten years, MOOSland wants to implement the cultivation and utilization of peat moss biomass, which has already been researched in pilot projects, on a large scale. When grassland is being rewetted for climate protection reasons, the cultivation of peat moss offers an alternative to current drainage-based agriculture. Peat moss stores water in its cells, up to 30 times its own weight. Thus, it provides a renewable raw material with similar properties to the peat formed from it. It is therefore ideal as a peat substitute. MOOSland will now help to investigate and implement peat moss paludiculture on a large scale in an ecologically, economically and socially compatible way. MOOSland is a model and demonstration project by the University of Greifswald and seven partners from Lower Saxony. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is supporting the project with a total of around 12.5 million euros from the Climate Transformation Fund (KTF); The project sponsor is the Agency for Renewable Raw Materials (FNR).
Wet again – but no flooding
with benefit instead of damage
6/01/2024 It has rained a lot in large parts of Germany in the past few weeks. Many rivers have overflowed their banks, numerous areas are flooded, dikes are giving way and the water is threatening towns and cities. Countless rescue workers and helpers are fighting to limit the damage.
Our use of water is a key reason for the floods: water management today is designed to drain rainwater from the landscape quickly and in a controlled manner. That's why it is crisscrossed with a dense drainage network of ditches, underground drainage pipes, receiving waters, pumping stations, etc. Straightening watercourses also contributes to the water flowing away more quickly. However, when there is high rainfall, this drainage system is overloaded. The water cannot be drained away quickly enough and flooding is the result.
Modeling shows that higher winter precipitation and more heavy rain events are to be expected in the future due to climate change. It therefore becomes even more important to make flood protection safer for the future. Simply thinking about more stable and higher dikes is not enough. Rather, retention areas should be given much greater consideration because they have great importance and great potential for flood protection. Peatlands play a prominent role here. When drained, they can exacerbate flood situations if their peat is degraded and compacted. Wet peatlands, on the other hand, can absorb and store water like a sponge, thus delaying runoff. With a peat formation horizon (so-called acrotelm) in the uppermost decimetres, they are able to “breathe”, so the surface fluctuates depending on the water supply (so-called peat oscillation). Short-term flooding thus does not harm wet peatlands, even if they are used for agricultural purposes in paludiculture. This allows them to buffer flood peaks. This is also why they say “Peatland must be wet!”.
"We wish you rewetted peatlands" for 2024
22/12/2023 Dear peatland friends, we at the Greifswald Mire Centre are “Dreaming of a wet peatland” (or many) constantly and, of course, at Christmas, too. But we are not dreaming only, but working hard to make it come true. Great thanks to everybody joining and supporting us in these efforts in the past year! For Christmas “We wish you rewetted peatlands, we wish you rewetted peatlands” and a happy new year! We’ll be continuing in 2024…
New paper in Scientific Reports of Nature
13/12/2023 Data is scarce on how biodiversity is responding to paludiculture. But a new study recently published in Scientific Reports of Nature sheds light on it. A multi-taxon study co-authored by scientists of Greifswald University, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, found that paludiculture can support biodiversity conservation in rewetted fen peatlands (DOI 10.1038/s41598-023-44481-0).
The scientists had investigated vegetation, breeding bird and arthropod diversity at six rewetted fen sites dominated by Carex or Typha species in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in northeastern Germany, either unharvested, low- or high-intensity managed. Biodiversity was estimated across the range of Hill numbers using the iNEXT package, and species were checked for Red List status. It became evident that managed sites had high plant diversity, as well as Red Listed arthropods and breeding birds. Thus, they can provide valuable habitat for species even while productive management of the land continues and although these areas are not reflecting historic fen conditions.
GMC at UNFCCC COP28
02/12/2023 We are, where the talk is - on peatlands, of course! Here is a collection of peatland related (side)events on this year’s world climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 30th November - 12 December 2023. Participation via livestream is possible for most of them:
On Friday 8th December at 3–4:30pm (GMT+4) Franziska Tanneberger, one of the GMC’s directors, starts participation on the ground with joining the panel of Towards a global stocktake for peatlands and other high-carbon ecosystems: status and scaling up potential. Co-organised by Succow Stiftung, Partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Wetlands International and Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), the event is hybrid and can be followed per livestream / ). The direct link will be available from the 7th December.
On Saturday 9th December, in total, there are four peatland events with GMC participation: At 10:00-11:30, an official COP28 Presidency Event discusses Enhancing food and nature linkages for climate action. It is organised by the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) with COP28 Presidency, High Level Climate Change Champions, and many other organisations including Succow Foundation, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre. Speakers include Ani Dasgupta (President and CEO, World Resources Institute WRI), H.E. Siti Nurbaya Bakar (Minister of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia), Jochen Flasbarth (Secretary of State, Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany), Bruno Pozzi (Deputy Director Ecosystems Division Director, UNEP) and Franziska Tanneberger.
At 1:00-2:30pm (GMT+4) Climate change mitigation through peatland restoration is the topic at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) hub. Following in livestream on YouTube is possible.
At 3:00-4:30 pm (GMT +4) a team of African and European peatland scientists reports on in a joint side event of the Global Peatland Initiative and UNEP.
Last but not least, at 4:30-6:00 pm a side event in the German Pavilion focusses on Nature-based Solutions meet Circular Economy: Cascading use of biomass (with livestream). Steffi Lemke, Minister of Environment (Germany), Cem Özdemir, Minister of Agriculture (Germany) and Franziska Tanneberger share recent insights into scaling up paludiculture for climate and biodiversity protection together on the panel.
On Sunday 10th December at 10:00-11:30 am (GMT +4), the panel discussion on “Nature-Based solution for Ukraine. From theory to Practice: forest and water” takes place in the Ukraine Pavilion, peatlands included, of course! Franziska Tanneberger presents the current work of Succow Foundation with many partners on protection and restoration of Polisia peatlands in North-Ukraine.
At 2:00-3:30pm (GMT+4) light is shed on “Enabling the triple win for tropical peatland countries – advancing water, biodiversity and carbon measurements” in a joint side event of UNEP, UNCCD, ITPC, MEOF Indonesia at the Land & Drought Resilience Pavilion. The GMC presents maps and results from our work in tropical peatlands.
As a member of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), Dr Franziska Tanneberger is also a member of the German delegation at the COP. In view of the global rise in emissions, the RNE sees an urgent need for new impetus from COP28. Above all, this concerns the topic of financing climate protection, which the RNE members want to contribute to at the COP.
Power to the Peatlands
Final conference statement
21/09/2023 The landmark conference from 19th to 21th September 2023 in Antwerp, Belgium, aiming to reposition peatlands at the core of European nature and climate policy, came out with a declaration for European policymakers. More than 500 peat experts present co-created this call to action "Empower nature, climate and future now!". In six main points the declaration emphasises: For peatlands we must act now and together! With 15 talks and ten poster presentations, the GMC was represented at the largest gathering of peatland experts ever held on the globe - the ‘Power to the Peatlands’. In the presentations, GMC members answered questions such as how paludiculture can be used in fens to combat eutrophication, biodiversity loss and the climate crisis. Or whether cattails filter enough water for peat moss cultures and how the peatlands of the Baltic Sea region have developed over the last four decades. The poster presentations ranged from cattail and peat moss cultivation in Germany, to analyses of peatland development via satellite data in the Baltic Sea region, to a literature study on peatlands of the Amazon region. The GMC was one of the partner organisations of the conference and supported its preparation in various committees. Via the PRINCESS project, facilitation of the conference declaration was provided.
Coming up in English
The Peatland Atlas
07/09/2023 The Mooratlas, which was published in January, has attracted great interest in Germany and - though in German - even beyond- That's why it will now also be available in English for a broad international audience. You can join the launch of the Peatland Atlas on the European political stage in Brussels on September 18th at 12:30 p.m. - on site or via livestream. René Böll, artist and co-founder Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, will speak at the opening. The Peatland Atlas is available online as early as September 11th here.
The Peatland Atlas and its launch are a joint project of Succow Foundation, partner in the Greifswald Moor Centrum, BUND - Friends of the Earth Germany and the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation in cooperation with the Global Peatland Initiative.
Open letter on peatlands in the NRL
Proposed EU Nature Restoration Law under threat
12/06/2023 Today an open letter calling for ambition on peatlands in the EU Nature Restoration Law was published and distributed to EU institutions and member of European Parliament. The letter was coordinated by the International Mire Conservation Group, the Greifswald Mire Centre, the Michael Succow Foundation and Wetlands International Europe. Some 50 organisations in a broad coalition of conservationists, scientists and farmers caring for peatlands across the EU have signed the letter. This week, the Nature Restoration Law is negotiated in the European Parliament. The signatories urge the Members of the European Parliament and the Council to adopt the Nature Restoration Law as swiftly as possible, before 2024, and to adopt the level of ambition included in the European Commission’s proposal and not dilute peatland restoration targets.