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Renaturation of the Königsmoor in Schleswig-Holstein

myclimate | Through this carbon offset project, a section of the unique Königsmoor in Schleswig-Holstein is being renatured. Through rewetting, typical upland moor vegetation can develop here over the long term and therefore helps to efficiently capture CO₂.

Project type

Nature-based

Project field

Forestry and Land Use

Location

Germany

Price

€66 / tonne

Healthy moorland has huge potential for storing carbon. The special organic substance that comprises moorland soil developed over thousands of years from dead but only partially degraded plants remains. However, when dried out, moorland soil releases huge volumes of climate damaging greenhouse gases. More than 95 per cent of all high and lowland moors in Germany were systematically drained through the digging of canals and ditches throughout the 20th century.They were used for agriculture or forestry or their peat was mined as a cheap source of fuel. The cultivation of the moorland exposed the stored carbon in the soil which continuously oxidise in the atmosphere on a large scale. With more than 40 million tonnes of CO₂ released annually, drained moorland soil is responsible for 40 per cent of all agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions in Germany.

The Königsmoor was also previously drained through drainages and ditches and intensively cultivated for agricultural purposes. In order for a drained moor to become a sustainable carbon storage solution again, moorland soil requires water levels to be at near surface level all year round. Thanks to the carbon offset project MoorFutures water levels can be raised. This puts a stop to the advancing peat decomposition and the associated high carbon emissions from the moorland soil.

Highland moors are fed by rain water. They are characterised by the virtually constant presence of excess water. The multicoloured peat moss retains water like a sponge. As water-rich ecosystems, moors are habitats for endangered species such as short-eared owls, herons, moor frogs, cotton grass and also “carnivorous” sundew. Renaturation promotes biodiversity while also improving flood protection, water pollution control and the microclimate.

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