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2022

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 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.