133 Neighbourly assistance environmental protec tion climate protection all of these combine when we go clearing scrub from the moorland with the German Army This came about as follows Since assuming patronage of Diepholz Moor in 2011 we have been actively conserving the moorland once or twice a year with our ap prentices Members of the German armed forc es stationed at a nearby base were made aware of this and suggested making this a joint ini tiative The way we saw it the more the bet ter So a total of 60 people in mixed groups Lebensbaum employees in civilian waterproof winter clothes members of the German Army in their traditional olive green set to work in Diepholz Moor with chainsaws lopping shears and handsaws in 2014 and 2015 With visible success And it is also fun to work together Since then weather permitting we have been going out into the moorland once a year with our neighbours from the German Army and once without It is usually wet and cold at these times because as soon as it gets warmer and nature emerges from hibernation then that s when the recovery period begins for the moor land as well These moorland deployments or scrub clear ance campaigns during which birch trees are removed are needed to protect Diepholz Moor from drying out and to restore it as much as possible to its natural state Young trees deprive the soil of water and light These are largely birch trees in the moorland Plants typical to moorland such as peat moss cannot grow as a result and die Environmentally harmful CO 2 gases are then released Healthy moorland however not only stores greenhouse gases but is also an important habitat for all kinds of flo ra and fauna Scrub clearing with the German Army The moorland high priest You re on the right track Professor Michael Succow the moorland high priest visited Diepholz Moor for which Lebensbaum has assumed patronage You re on the right track determined the professor as he hiked the moor being filmed by a ZDF TV team The visit was organised by the University of Olden burg Students local environmentalists and Lebensbaum apprentices took part in the extensive moorland walk I knew moorland protec tion made sense but I also found it quite an abstract concept This kind of excursion really brings things home to you explained one appren tice It is so important that we go out every year to clear scrub from the moorland in the snow and rain Perhaps the lower Diepholz moorland might become a model of nature conservation a biosphere reserve one day Succow can imagine this happening but only if there is an agri cultural rethink and long term funding of moorland protection projects But the professor was certain after his visit that there was no shortage of committed individuals Moorland patronage quo vadis A plan was needed to ensure Diepholz Moor could be deliberate ly rewetted and to prevent our moorland patronage gifts in the form of money and labour see page 132 from trickling away in vain With this in mind specialists first surveyed the situation as it then stood in 2013 before coming up with a maintenance and development plan for the years ahead We have provided the funding for this plan It states exactly what has to be done and assigns a priority to each measure The plan has been gradually implemented since 2014 areas have been cleared of trees em bankments patched up and heightened and overflow pipes laid so that newly accumulated water can be channelled in the right direction In spring 2015 alone a good 3 000 metres of levees were repaired numerous leaks plugged and 14 overflow pipes incorporated The success of the measures is clear to see the moorland is again holding more water To ensure things stay this way and that typ ical moorland plants can grow again the changes in the moor land are monitored closely after every step This monitoring has shown that too much water is flowing to the sides of the upland moor and being lost there So the aim of the next set of measures is to incorporate more barrages starting from the centre in order to keep the water at the heart of the upland moor for longer Nature

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