Why to restore peatlands - Peatland protection is climate protection
Peatlands store enormous amounts of fresh water, carbon and nutrients. At the same time, peatlands are shaped strongly by drainage for agriculture, forestry and peat extraction; worldwide about 15 % of peatlands are drained and cause 5 % of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Neman river is one of the largest rovers in eastern Europe. In the catchment basin of Neman river in Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and Russia drainage leads to peat degradation and eutrophication of the river waters and the Baltic Sea. Rewetting can stop these processes and delivers manifold environmental benefits. Thus, it is of strong transnational relevance.
How DESIRE restores peatlands
The main goal of DESIRE is peatland rewetting and sustainable wet use (paludiculture) in the Neman catchment. A mixed approach is applied: drafting of policy recommendations, generating new knowledge via modelling the effectivity of rewetting and paludiculture as well as exemplarily rewetting of peatlands in the Neman catchment to function as wetland buffer zones. Harvesting of nutrient-rich biomass from pilot sites in Lithuania, Poland and Kaliningrad region (Russia) and its utilisation is meant to improve water quality. This so-called paludiculture integrates conservation and utilization.
How others learn from experience in DESIRE
The project’s aim is to increase the capacity of regional and national authorities in the Neman catchment, NGOs, agricultural consultants and other stakeholders to adopt policies that incentivise wet peatland management for nutrient retention. The project aims to feed into river basin management plans and to propose agri-environmental schemes as instruments and incentives for farmers. Pilot sites are used for awareness raising and demonstration of practices towards stakeholders. Institutional capacity building is carried out to scale up the approach across the catchment of the Neman.
0.23MillionEni + Russia
Highlights by mid-term
The project DESIRE created an interactive GIS map of the Neman river catchment, which presents an overview of peatlands in the project area. In Kaliningrad, joint field visits and workshops were carried out to involve stakeholders and to optimise the peatland map on the Kaliningrad territory. The map also includes the areas in the Belarusian catchment area on the basis of the peat map of Belarus. The map available at neman-peatlands.eu provides information on the size, type, and status (natural or degraded) of peatland.
The progress was also made towards the process of rewetting peatlands. Three pilot sites for the restoration of wet meadows were selected in Lithuania in the Zuvintas Biosphere Reserve. The selected sites for restoration in the framework of the DESIRE project cover an area of 41,5 ha.
University of Greifswald
- RepresentativeSusanne Peeger
Michael Succow Foundation
- RepresentativeJan Peters
Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW
- RegionMiasto Warszawa
- RepresentativeMateusz Grygoruk
Polish Society for the Protection of Birds
- RegionWarszawski wschodni
- RepresentativeTomasz Wilk
SUCCEEDED by PP10 (01.01.2019) Aleksandras Stulginskis University
Lithuanian Fund for Nature
- RegionVilniaus apskritis
- RepresentativeNerijus Zableckis
State budget Institution of the Kaliningrad region "Nature park "Vishtynetsky"
- RegionKaliningrad Oblast
- CountryRussian Federation
- RepresentativeAmalj Samerkhanova
Bialystok University of Technology
- RepresentativePiotr Banaszuk
Vytautas Magnus University