They are considered important carbon reservoirs – but peatlands are often drained and dried up in Germany. Now the Ministry of the Environment wants to take countermeasures – also with new incentives.
Berlin (dpa) – The Federal Ministry of the Environment has presented for the first time a national strategy to better protect and restore peatlands in Germany.
The emphasis is on sustainable management in order to ensure its contribution to climate protection. “The Moors in Germany are in bad shape,” Environment Secretary Jochen Flasbarth said on Wednesday. Currently 90 percent of them are “degraded and drained”. Agriculture and forestry play an important role in this regard. Another type of management is needed, for which financial incentives are also needed. In addition to other funding programs, € 100 million is available in the federal budget, Flasbarth said.
As carbon reservoirs, peatlands are crucial for the escape of greenhouse gases and therefore also for climate protection. In Germany, 6.7% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 came from the decomposition of peatland soils. The amended federal law on climate protection for the first time explicitly anchors the contribution of forests and heathlands to climate protection. He also predicts that these landscapes will be suitable for this task in the years to come.
According to Flasbarth, the implementation of the peatland strategy requires close coordination with the Länder. This also applies to a possible promotion of peat soils through EU agricultural subsidies. Soon there will be a federal-state goal agreement. This should also stipulate that the protection of the moors should save five million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.
Flasbarth admitted that it was not possible to present the strategy to cabinet and thus make it a binding strategy for the federal government. The Ministry of Agriculture refused to give its approval. Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) had already signaled her refusal. “Such ideas that the SPD has, which peatland farmers want to take out of their land through the back door and expropriate, will not exist with the Union,” the CDU politician told the t-online portal. Flasbarth called his statements totally unfounded “nonsense”.