6 Nature and people Moorland patronage climate protection starts at your doorstep Diepholz Moor is like an enormous bathtub in the flat landscape And this bath tub is full of tiny hidden holes through which the water drains The peat body that has evolved over thousands of years is drying out and collapsing inwards A moor without water is not a moor A moor without water does not store CO2 worse still when oxygen comes into contact with peat it is broken down by mi cro organisms and the carbon taken from the air by the peat moss for centuries and saved as peat becomes CO2 again That is why Lebensbaum wants to seal off the moorland again After all moors hold more than 30 of the carbon stored in the ground worldwide although they only cover 3 of the land area Upland moors like Diepholz Moor are fed by rain and have to overcome a con tradiction they rise above their surroundings but must also ensure that the wa ter does not run off them If you look at an intact upland moor from above you will see that it forms a pattern of hills and valleys hummocks and hollows Over hundreds of years the hummocks have arranged themselves transversely to the direction of flowing water This trick helps to prevent water running off an intact moorland But it is almost impossible to seal off Diepholz Moor again after centuries of drainage In spite of new earthen banks and closed drainage ditches the wa ter always finds new ways to drain away I immediately understood that Die pholz Moor was too dry the peat moss was scarce and the upland moor char acter had been lost due to birch trees growing in many areas said Hans Dieter Tornow The retired biology teacher is a nature conservation officer whose re mit includes Diepholz Moor Furthermore the almost 500 hectare area also has 190 private and seven public owners A legal patchwork quilt making rewet ting so complicated That is why the Lebensbaum Stiftung foundation wants to join up the many little patches into larger pieces and accepts endowments for this purpose namely the moor plots of the private owners In return the foundation pays the taxes and duties as sociated with these plots More than 60 owners have gifted their plots to the foundation at this stage They are acclaimed as Moor land Heroes in Diepholz and the na tional press has reported on the cam paign I ll admit our approach is unu sual but it works said Maren Walter from the Lebensbaum Stiftung foun dation The people here are attached to their moor plots these have often been handed down through many gen erations But they are also prepared to give them up if it would benefit the moorland That is why they are Moor land Heroes In addition to the work of the founda tion Lebensbaum also provided more than 110 000 euros by the end of 2015 And the financial support will contin ue Ultimately Lebensbaum has as sumed patronage of Diepholz Moor and is in it for the long haul After all 35 years of moorland protection have shown that draining an ecosys tem like the moor is a comparatively fast process But it takes a lot of time and money to restore it to its natural equilibrium 132

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