Containing plenty of peatlands, but there's room for more

Action Programme Natural Climate Protection

28/10/2022 - Greifswald Moor Centrum
Peatland protection as a nature-based solution for effective climate protection is extensively considered in the Action Programme Natural Climate Protection (ANK), states the Greifswald Moor Centrum in its statement in the BMUV's online dialogue on this programme, which ends today. But there is still some room for improvement. Here is a summary of the most important points:
The target of 5 million t CO2 eq. annual reduction from peatlands by 2030, which is also set in the Peatland Protection Strategy, is still low. This is less than 10% of the current annual peatland emissions of 53 million t CO2.
The framing should change. Germany's peatlands are currently predominantly (85%) used for agriculture or forestry. The term "renaturation" suggests a natural development uninfluenced by humans after rewetting and the possibility of returning the peatlands to their former condition. In Germany, neither of these is possible in most cases. Therefore, the terms "rewetting" and "restoration" are more appropriate. These formulations express that the ANK also includes new, sustainable uses for peatlands.
The ANK can educate more people about peatlands and build long-term structures at federal, state and local levels. In addition to voluntary measures, it should also make adjustments to planning and regulatory law, thus enabling linked work by participating authorities for a comprehensive landscape assessment.

Peatland protection strategy

09.11.2022 - Michael Succow Foundation

The Federal Government has adopted the Peatland Protection Strategy. The Succow Foundation is very pleased about this. In order for the strategy to be effective, we would like to focus on a few more details.

Germany has a peatland protection strategy - and it is supported by the entire federal government! With today's cabinet decision, the federal government is implementing one of its announcements in the coalition agreement. Although the new strategy differs only in nuances from the paper already adopted by the Federal Ministry for the Environment in 2021, it now commits the entire government with all departments to give greater consideration to peatlands in political decision-making. This clear commitment to implement peatland protection not as a niche task but as a mainstream in all business areas of the federal government, in procurement and on federally owned land as a model is very welcome by the Succow Foundation, partner in the Greifswald Moor Centrum. In addition, the Natural Climate Protection Action Programme, which was already adopted in the summer, finally provides an appropriately equipped framework for implementation. However, in order to achieve the great peatland transformation as a process involving society as a whole, it is important to reduce bureaucracy and speed up planning and approval procedures. In addition to adjustments in planning law, this also requires additional capacities at all levels, which can only be built up in the medium term through educational offers at schools, universities and training centres. The Succow Foundation is already supporting this process with the MoKKa project. Our comments on the peatland protection strategy in detail can be found in today's media information.

Duly awarded!

Federal Order of Merit for Hans Joosten

Hans Joosten (Photo: T. Dahms)

27/9/2022 - Greifswald Moor Centrum
Professor Hans Joosten from Greifswald will receive the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on 30th September for his research on and his personal commitment to peatlands and climate protection. Matching the slogan "Building Bridges", Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will honour the peatland scientist and further 20 persons on the occasion of the Day of German Unity at Bellevue Palace which is celebrated on the 3rd October. According to the Office of the Federal President, the eleven women and ten men are making an outstanding contribution to finding solutions to the global challenges of our time, such as the war against Ukraine, the Corona pandemic, poverty reduction, migration and climate change, as well as to strengthening cohesion in our country.  

Regarding the award for the native Dutchman, it says: "Thanks to Hans Joosten, it is known today: drained peatlands are climate killers, "rewetted" ones are climate savers. The biologist is a pioneer in the search for ways to protect the climate. At the University of Greifswald, he co-founded the Greifswald Mire Centre, one of the world's most sought-after research centres for climate protection. However, Hans Joosten has not left it at scientific research on the relevance of peatlands for the climate. He has shown practical ways to use the areas for agriculture again and in the process coined a whole new discipline, "paludiculture". Beyond his scientific work, he has always been involved in political debates, because climate protection needs everyone's action." 

Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Joosten had already met last year at an award ceremony. The Federal President had presented the scientist with the German Environmental Award 2021 of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU).

Peatland plants are the best CO2 reservoirs

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. The reason for high carbon storage capacity: In wet ecosystems, plant growth and carbon deposition in the soil stimulate each other. The paper, published in renowned academic journal Science, was 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. The good news is that protection and restoration of wetlands can help tackle the climate crisis through reduction of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. And, we are getting better at managing and restoring these ecosystems.