Peatland Management in Germany: EU-Subsidies and Restoration Strategies

Simone Witzel, Theodor Fock

Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress


eu-agri-environmental-policies, paludiculture, peatland-and-mire-restoration

Witzel, Fock 2012: Peatland Management in Germany: EU-Subsidies and Restoration Strategies


Theme V. Restoration, rehabilitation and after-use of disturbed peatlands


More than 95% of the peatlands in Germany are drained and degraded ecologically. Most of these peatlands were drained in order to expand agricultural areas. Drained peatlands are im-portant emitters of greenhouse gases (especially CO2) and water dissolvable nutrients (Jensen et al., 2011). In recent years, the importance of peatland protection has been recognised by the federal states of Germany and thus several peatland restoration and rewetting projects have been carried out. In other cases, EU-subsidies have been granted in order to encourage more sustainable management practices. Most of these projects are based on EU-agri-environmental policies.

In this paper, selected EU-agri-environmental policies in Germany are described, compared, and analysed. According to the German constitution, there is no general nature protection pol-icy, i.e. the federal states (“Bundesländer”) all have their own nature protection policies and programs.

The results of this evaluation are one basis for creating an “optimal” subsidy directive for peatland restoration, rewetting, and management. Furthermore, a new and sustainable way of agricultural usage of peatland, the so called paludiculture, shall be introduced. Paludiculture is a peat preservative, productive use of peatland. For example, reed and other typical plants are harvested and further used either as building material or as feedstock for biogas plants or kilns. In Germany, paludicultures can only be found upon nature protection sites so far.

However, economically and ecologically sound incentives shall be identified to promote the introduction of paludicultures.