"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…
by Helena Plochberger
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.
Harakeke, UK peat ban and bog must-see
06/09/2023 Our new newsletter is now published in an online format so that it can also be easily received on mobile devices.
In the current issue we report, among other things, on Harakeke as a possible paludiculture plant in New Zealand, on the status of the peat ban in the United Kingdom and on four long-term paludi projects in Germany. Read now and best subscribe...
by Helena Plochberger
EU Nature Restoration Lawand the Soil Health
22/05/2023 Negotiations on the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) and the Soil Health Law are ongiong amongst EU parliament and EU council. Considering the role of peatland restoration appropriately for both, it's vital for stakeholders to understand it. That's why the Greifswald Mire Centre, in which the Succow Foundation ist a partner, and further partner assembled seven concise Q&As. Find answers on
- the difference between rewetting and restoration
- costs and benefits of these activities
- availability of data on peatland distribution and condition,
compatibility of rewetting with productive land use and food security
- methane emissions after rewetting.
How to paludiculture?
Yes, we can … do it, new film shows
15/05/2023 Paludiculture – just a buzzword? More open questions than possibilities promised? Clearly no! Agriculture on wet and rewetted peatlands is urgently needed to combat the climate crisis. How to – that’s of real interest to farmers, landowners and politicians in peatland rich countries all over Europe. That’s why 50 people from 10 EU member states had a look at paludiculture sites in Northern Germany, guided by scientists and implementation experts of Greifswald Mire Centre and Succow Foundation. Our new film "How to paludiculture?" shows what the participants learned along the 5-day paludiculture study tour. It presents their burning questions, needs and perspectives as well as projects and experience already existing and made by paludiculture pioneers here. A lot to take home not only for them – please spread to your community, too! This film was prepared in the project EUKI - Carbon capturing by Baltic peatland farmers financed by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) and the toMOORow project. Both are projects of Succow Foundation and partners.
Save the Date (for wetter faster)
Conference: Accelerating peatland climate protection
28/02/2023 The German Federal Foundation for the Environment and the Greifswald Mire Centre jointly invite you to the conference Accelerating peatland climate protection - How to bring peatland rewetting to grande scale on 1st June 2023. In order to achieve the German climate protection goals by 2045, peatland protection must take up speed. But hurdles are still high. The Action Programme for Natural Climate Protection and the National Peatland Protection Strategy now offer the opportunity to remove obstacles to peatland protection projects and to accelerate planning and approval at both federal and state level. How this could look like in concrete terms will be demonstrated and discussed during the conference at the DBU Centre for Environmental Communication in Osnabrück, including research results from the Greifswald Mire Centre and experiences from various peatland and climate protection projects in the peatland-rich federal states.
Mean Methane and what to do with it
New Factsheet available 20/12/2022 In a nutshell, our new factsheet explains The role of methane in peatland rewetting. Wet peatlands release methane (CH4), and the climate-damaging greenhouse gas is also produced when rewetting formerly drained areas. It has a much stronger effect on the climate than carbon dioxide (CO2), but remains in the atmosphere for comparably short time. By 2030, methane emissions are to be reduced by 30% worldwide compared to 2020. Does this now argue against restoring peatlands? It doesn't, as the new factsheet explains: Addressing the climate crisis requires reducing atmospheric concentrations of all three greenhouse gases relevant to peatlands (CH4, CO2, nitrous oxide (N2O)). Rewetting effectively reduces long-lived CO2 emissions from peatlands to zero effectively and quickly and is therefore always the right choice for climate protection.
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.