Denmark's LIFEraisedbogs and Marches Mosses BogLIFE in the UK are committed to restoring peatlands, vital for biodiversity, water conservation and retention, flood protection and tackling climate change.
Well-preserved peatlands are well-known for their ability to capture and store CO2. Peatlands occur across Europe but are mainly found in the Boreal, Atlantic, Continental and Alpine biogeographical regions.
LIFE's Peatlands for Life brochure underlines the social, cultural and environmental importance of peatlands - but also points out that more than half of all pristine peatlands in Europe have been lost or converted, with only a few currently in good ecological condition.
It was during a networking break at the LIFE Platform meeting on peatlands, organised by CINEA LIFE Programme and Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) - Germany's oldest and largest environmental association - that both LIFE projects realised how much they could learn from each other.
A study visit was quickly organised, with a delegation from LIFEraisedbogs in Tønder, northern Denmark, visiting Marches Mosses BogLIFE on the English-Welsh border.
'Last year during a visit to our project, CINEA project adviser suggested that we visit Wales to see how they are meeting the fundamental challenge of re-wetting the peatlands', explains Ole Ottosen, head of the Danish project. 'After the many insights we got in Berlin, we couldn't agree more that we needed to exchange best practices.'
'Ole, the LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs project and I organised the comprehensive study visit and also a conference to share the various project results,' says Robert Duff, coordinator of the Marches Mosses BogLIFE, a partnership between Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and Shropshire Wildlife Trust. 'Over the years, we involved many people in our project. Almost 300 hundred volunteers participated in our activities, but it has a special meaning to create a cross-border bond with others equally passionate about restoring peatland.'
The visit took place as both projects were in their closing stages, focusing on exchanging knowledge, skills, experiences and techniques. 'It has been a true cultural exchange,' adds Ole. 'In Denmark, we have a different, more conservative approach. To see the transformation they are achieving in Great Britain with LIFE has been eye-opening.'
'We prioritised re-wetting the peatlands because it is the key to enhancing the potential of carbon-storing that the peatlands represent,' explains Robert. 'By protecting and re-wetting the peatland, our project saved emissions equivalent to those produced by four million UK citizens in one year.'
The pair are in complete agreement on the value of cooperation. 'We suggest all LIFE projects should look beyond their local borders and discover what other passionate people are doing across Europe. Our projects benefitted from cooperation, and on the way, we built a friendship based on a common objective.'
- Publication date
- 30 August 2023
- European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency