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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article20 July 2022European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

Restoring peatlands in 5 EU countries 

LIFE15 CCM/DE/000138
LIFE15 CCM/DE/000138. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

The team behind LIFE Peat Restore has revived around 5 300 hectares of drained and degraded peatlands in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. 

Peatlands are home to many rare and threatened species found nowhere else.They help to regulate our climate by storing carbon. They can also reduce flooding and act as a buffer against pollution. However, peatlands are in urgent need of conservation and restoration and need our help.  

LIFE Peat Restore restored 11 sites across the five countries, covering a wide range of peatland types and degradation states using various techniques and materials. 

Specific measures included: 

  • Rewetting degraded peatlands by filling ditches and building dams to stop water draining. 
  • Measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions before and after restoration shows policymakers the vital role of peatland restoration in curbing climate change. 
  • Creating guidelines for peatland restoration and use, following EU climate policy and legislation. 
  • Organising field trips, scientific conferences, workshops, and other activities to raise awareness of peatlands among the wider public. 
  • The team also provided scientists and policymakers with robust carbon data from peatlands. 
  • A handbook and guidelines to help politicians, authorities, and conservation managers make the right decisions regarding peatlands' use.  
  • Awareness-raising activities enhanced the profile of peatlands and their importance among the wider public. 
  • A virtual platform to share and exchange experiences, results and lessons learned. 
  • Various short films explain peatlands’ vital ecosystem functions and the restoration measures implemented under the project. 
  • Around 700 people attended the LIFE Peat Restore final online conference.   

According to the project, the climate mitigation impact of the restoration will lead to a reduction of 30% of the global warming potential. 

Read more about the project's outputs here.  

The EU Habitats Directive and the Natura 2000 network of protected areas are vital for saving Europe's peatlands.  Also, the European Commission's EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 calls for peatland restoration and their strict protection. This is vital as only 10% of Europe's peatlands are currently in good condition. And in June this year, the European Commission proposed a new Nature Restoration Law with binding targets on numerous habitats, including peatlands.