There are carbon offset projects not only in the global south, but also right on our doorstep in Germany. Because with the renaturation of peatlands, large amounts of carbon can be bound. Why is that, Ms Ojowski? What does the renaturation of peatlands have to do with climate protection?
Ute Ojowski: Intact peatlands store twice as much carbon in their peat as is contained in the world's forests. If a peatland is drained, the carbon store becomes a source of greenhouse gases. Drainage causes the peat to decompose. This is how CO₂ escapes into the atmosphere. The renaturation of peatlands counteracts these negative processes for the climate. And the peatlands can once again fulfil their carbon storage function.
Via the myclimate web calculators at www.myclimate.de/kompensieren, users can support, among other things, the German carbon offset project «Moore als Klimaschützer: Renaturierung des Königsmoores in Schleswig-Holstein». What is this project about, Ms Ojowski?
Ojowski: The Königsmoor in Schleswig-Holstein was heavily drained in the course of the 20th century by ditches and drainages in order to be able to use it intensively as grassland. Through this high-quality climate protection project, part of the unique Königsmoor in Schleswig-Holstein is being renaturalised. In the long term, waterlogging will allow typical raised bog vegetation to re-establish itself here. This efficiently binds carbon and creates a valuable habitat for many endangered species - right on our doorstep. The Schleswig-Holstein Foundation for Nature Conservation has so far secured around 630 hectares of the 1,200 hectare site for nature conservation. The MoorFutures project embedded in it covers a partial area of 68 ha.
MoorFutures is a registered brand name. What does it stand for?
Ojowski: MoorFutures are climate protection certificates for the voluntary compensation market for greenhouse gas emissions. They are pioneers for climate protection projects in peatlands. One MoorFutures stands for one tonne of non-emitted carbon dioxide. The certificates are aimed at private individuals, companies and institutions who want to reduce their ecological footprint by offsetting unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions. The MoorFutures standard guarantees quality and trustworthiness of the brand and the process - both for the buyers and for the MoorFutures projects themselves.
And why are MoorFutures projects not awarded the Gold Standard?
Ojowski: The Gold Standard only accepts renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. However, certification options for land use projects, such as peatland rewetting, are currently being developed.
Let's get back to the climate protection project «Peatlands as climate protectors: Renaturation of the Königsmoor in Schleswig-Holstein». What progress have you been able to make so far with the purchased area?
Ojowski: With the purchase of the land, the Foundation for Nature Conservation has, as a first step, switched to extensive use without fertilisation and grassland management. However, the negative effects of drainage - such as decomposition of the peat and thus the escape of climate-damaging gases - cannot be stopped or reversed by this, so that extensive measures for rewetting could be gradually implemented on a total of approx. 225 ha so far in various construction phases between 2012 and 2018. The MoorFutures project is a building block within large-scale rewetting in the Königsmoor, through which the rewetting of the 68 ha sub-area is being realised. After the first 20 ha of the MoorFutures project was rewetted at the beginning of 2015, the first pairs of lapwings are already breeding on the freshly removed, still vegetation-free open soil areas.
In December 2015, the second construction phase began, this time removing drainage pipes and closing drainage ditches on the remaining approximately 48 hectares of the MoorFutures area. In total, 5,600 metres of embankments were built in both construction phases so that surface water will remain on the area in the future. Raising the water level conserves the peat in the bog and reduces or stops peat decomposition. The first monitoring report on the progress of the renaturation will be published shortly and is currently being examined by the scientific advisory board.
That sounds very good! And the nice thing is that not only the climate benefits from the renaturation of the peatlands, but also the fauna and flora in this area, as you mentioned.
Ojowski: Yes, that's right! Rare, often endangered animals typical of the moors, such as the dragonfly bog hawker, the common snipe, the bluethroat, the corncrake, the water rail and the moor frog also benefit from this. Many typical moorland plants and animals returned after only a short time.
Are there other areas that you are currently planning for renaturation?
Ojowski: Yes, a second MoorFutures project is currently being prepared in Schleswig-Holstein for the rewetting of a further 30 ha in 2022.
Thank you very much for the interview, Ms Ojowski.
You can support the peatland project via the following myclimate donation calculators: Flight web calculator, Car web calculator, Cruise web calculator, Footprint web calculator, Household web calculator, Company web calculator and Event web calculator.