HOW TO PROTECT THE CLIMATE WITH PEATLANDS – SECURING RESOURCES IN PEATLANDS
Climate protection is a major challenge worldwide for our and for future generations. In the long term, this involves nothing less than the preservation of the performance and functional capacity of natural ecosystems, including the regenerative capacity and sustainable use capacity of natural assets as well as biological diversity (fulfilment of the Biodiversity Convention), and thus the safeguarding of living conditions for humankind. The short and medium-term goals were made binding in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015.
Peatlands are of outstanding importance in terms of climate protection due to their ability to store greenhouse gases that are damaging for the environment. And this relates to Brandenburg in a special way nationwide, as it is very rich in peatland. Currently, however, more than 200,000 hectares of organic soils (“peatland and peatland succession soils”) are being used economically in a way that has a lasting impact on these soils, releasing around 6.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year as well as nutrients that were previously retained. The transition to low-impact management at a minimum by 2030 and to climate-neutral management by 2050 is therefore fundamental within the framework of the German Climate Action Plan 2050. The goal is to reduce emissions from German peatlands from the current 44 million by 5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents / year by 2030, in accordance with the Federal and State target agreement on peatland protection. That is a reduction of around 11.4 percent. This requires raising the water level for about 50,000 hectares of peatland in Brandenburg to a ground level proximity. A challenging task.
Peatlands also function primarily as water reservoirs and help stabilise the landscape water resources during dry periods. Permanent drainage not only negatively affects the water balance in the peatlands themselves, but also in large areas in the surrounding area, which leads to economic damage, degradation of nature and the environment, and often considerable follow-up costs.
For these reasons, the project designated the “Climate protection and climate impact adaptation through peatland-friendly reservoirs and water management relating to peatland areas in the state of Brandenburg and its catchment areas” was commissioned by the state of Brandenburg. The aim of the project is to retain water in about 20 large-scale peatlands where the water balance has been impaired by drainage measures. The main objective is to work with users to develop bespoke strategies and solutions for managing high water levels and to establish adequate, attractive utilisation options. As it is only by working together that we will be able to tackle the challenges ahead.