Climate Change Mitigation through Land Use on Rewetted Peatlands – Cross-Sectoral Spatial Planning for Paludiculture in Northeast Germany
Wetlands (Wilmington, N.C.)
Drainage of peatlands causes severe environmental damage, including high greenhouse gas emissions. Peatland rewetting substantially lowers these emissions. After rewetting, paludiculture (i.e. agriculture and forestry on wet peatlands) is a promising land use option. In Northeast Germany (291,361 ha of peatland) a multi-stakeholder discussion process about the implementation of paludiculture took place in 2016/2017. Currently, 57% of the peatland area is used for agriculture (7% as arable land,
... (7% as arable land, 50% as permanent grassland), causing greenhouse gas emissions of 4.5 Mt CO 2 eq a −1 . By rewetting and implementing paludiculture, up to 3 Mt CO 2 eq a −1 from peat soils could be avoided. To safeguard interests of both nature conservation and agriculture, the different types of paludiculture were grouped into 'cropping paludiculture' and 'permanent grassland paludiculture'. Based on land legislation and plans, a paludiculture land classification was developed. On 52% (85,468 ha) of the agriculturally used peatlands any type of paludiculture may be implemented. On 30% (49,929 ha), both cropping and permanent grassland paludiculture types are possible depending on administrative check. On 17% (28,827 ha), nature conservation restrictions allow only permanent grassland paludiculture. We recommend using this planning approach in all regions with high greenhouse gas emissions from drained peatlands to avoid land use conflicts.