125 Nature Moorland patronage Climate protection starts at our doorstep The Diepholz high moor perches like a vast bathtub on an oth erwise flat landscape This tub is riddled with hidden holes that leak water The peat bog that was built up over thousands of years is now drying out and collapsing A moor without water is not a moor A moor without water cannot store CO 2 What s worse As dried peat oxidises it gets decomposed by microor ganisms releasing CO 2 from the carbon that the peat moss had sequestered from the air over the course of thousands of years So Lebensbaum wants to restore the moor that s practically at our doorstep Moors hold more than 30 percent of the car bon stored in the ground although they cover only 3 percent of our planet s land surface High moors like the one in Die pholz are fed only by rainwater and they embody a paradox They rise above their surroundings yet must retain water But after centuries of drainage and peat cutting leakage from the Diepholz moor can hardly be stopped Despite measures like building new embankments and closing off drainage ditches water still manages to find ways to seep away Moreover the nearly 500 hectares of moor is divided into a legal patchwork of publicly and privately owned parcels which further compli cates rewetting efforts The Lebensbaum Foundation has consolidated many of these small parcels of land into larger ones thanks to the generosity of 60 private owners who endowed their property to the foun dation for this purpose In return the foundation pays all taxes and duties on the parcels In addition to the work of the foundation Lebensbaum had pro vided more than 175 000 euros by the end of 2018 These funds went toward drawing up a maintenance and development plan for the moor which identified in detail where specific rewetting measures would be most effective They also paid for most of the implementation work Saplings were removed dams were repaired and built higher and overflow pipes were laid to chan nel the flow of newly accumulated water We performed some of these important measures ourselves because sometimes there is more need for pruning shears and willing hands than for heavy equipment Our apprentices are well versed in these tasks They join us on missions twice a year to remove birch saplings which take precious water from the moor and deprive peat moss of sunlight The success of these measures is apparent The moor now retains more water To keep it this way and encourage the growth of typical moor plants the effects of every restoration step are being closely monitored And we shall remain involved After all Lebensbaum has assumed a long term patronage for the Diepholz moor Experience has shown that an ecosystem like the moor can be drained rather quickly But it takes a lot of time and money to restore its natural balance

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