135 CO2 from destroyed moorland is being released back into the atmosphere Together with peat fires this ac counts for some 25 of global CO2 emissions and is generally a result of moorland drainage After Indo nesia the EU countries are together the second big gest emitters of CO2 from drained moorland In Germany the moors are in a particularly bad con dition in your federal state of Lower Saxony There is no properly intact upland moor left there any more As a result Lower Saxony with emissions of 9 3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year from drained moorland sadly takes top spot in Germany How has it come to this In Lower Saxony there are two main reasons First ly almost all lowland moors here are intensively farmed In particular the long term growing of maize com bined with manure spreading leads to the fastest over all depletion of peat Three to four centimetres of peat are lost here each year which go into the atmosphere as CO2 and contribute along with climate harming ni trous oxide emissions to rapid climate warming Secondly Lower Saxony is the only federal state where peat cutting takes place on a large scale on more than 20 000 hectares for use as peat soil in com mercial horticulture and hobby gardening This car bon once taken over thousands of years from the earth s material cycle and stored in the form of peat is now quickly becoming a source of CO2 as well So what has to happen for moorland to become protected and form peat again We must maintain the last moorland still growing at all costs In general drained moorland should be proper ly rewetted if possible It is definitely possible to use the above ground biomass here To do this we have developed what is known as paludicul ture from the Latin palus paludis marsh swamp here at the University of Greifswald Through this deeply drained moorland is rewetted by which it retains its carbon and continues growing Reeds then start to grow on this rewetted moorland for example and can be harvested in the winter with out damaging the moorland The reeds are turned into pellets which are used for heating In coun tries such as Belarus and China we have been able to help successfully establish these alternative uses Peat forming moorlands i e moors that start grow ing again can also serve as sites for issuing carbon credits due to the role they play in reducing CO2 An attractive approach when it comes to pro tecting both the moorland and the climate Through our dedicated involvement we are trying to encourage our employees and people in our region to protect the moorland And rightly so People who consider the future sustainability of our civilisation matter People who stand up for our wounded world are not angry citizens in my eyes but courageous ones Ultimately we no longer live in the Holocene when nature was still intact but the Anthropocene where people increasingly interfere in natural material cycles destroying the equilibrium We have to be wiser when dealing with nature our basis for life In a prosperous country like Germany there should be no destructive land use We do not suffer from hunger but have more than we need Worse still the conventional methods of farming that still dominate today produce products at the expense of the future After all not only the moorland but also the mineral soil will become seriously affected There is also an increasing level of nitrates in groundwater The experts agree that farming will have to be carried out sustainably and ecologically at a local level if we are to solve the world food problem or it won t happen at all Nature

Vorschau Sustainability Report 2016 Seite 141
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