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Paludiculture: Peat formation and renewable resources from rewetted peatlands

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Paludiculture: peat formation and renewable resources from rewetted peatlands
by Wendelin Wichtmann & Hans Joosten
The last years have shown a worldwide increasing
demand for biomass. Next to the need for food to
satisfy the growing population and prosperity in
newly industrializing countries, the markets for
biogenic raw materials and biofuels are rapidly
expanding. On arable lands the cultivation of industry
and energy crops increasingly competes with
conventional food production. The shortage of
biomass can be observed in rising prices and in the
renewed interest to exploit unused land resources,
including unreclaimed lands (wilderness), abandoned
fields, and low productive areas. This trend creates a
new focus on peatlands, such as in the tropics where
oil palm and pulp plantations are expanding
The critical condition of mires in climatic regions that
are well-suited for crop cultivation (cf. the near
extinction of tropical peat domes and of percolation
mires in the temperate zone) necessitates a complete
ban of biomass cultivation on peatlands that have
remained largely untouched. Not only important
biodiversity values are at stake there, but biomass
production associated with peatland drainage is
highly counterproductive from a climate point of
view (see contribution of John Couwenberg in this
Newsletter). The credo with respect to (near-)natural
mires should be: “no new structures, no further
In the temperate zone, peatlands had just lost their
agricultural attractiveness. Difficult handling, low
productivity and progressive degradation under
intensive use prevented them to effectively compete
with the abundant and increasingly productive
mineral soils. In fact, immense areas of agriculturally
used peatland in Europe had been abandoned in the
last decade. Now the expansion of biomass
cultivation again throws an eye on these areas. We
increasingly observe in West-and Central Europe new
deep drainage of peatlands to enable cultivation of
‘renewable biofuel’ crops like maize (Zea mays) and
elephant grass (Miscanthus).
However, the quest for additional land resources for
biomass production can also work out positively for
peatland and climate conservation if it is combined
with the rewetting of drained peatlands. Drainage
(with associated subsidence and soil deterioration)
has largely degraded the agricultural value of their
soils, they have lost most of their biodiversity values,
and they belong globally to the largest greenhouse
gas emitters in existence. So, there is little to lose and
a lot to be gained. Rewetting drained peatlands will
substantially reduce the emission of greenhouse gases
(especially CO2 and N2O, Joosten & Augustin 2006).
It can additionally contribute to avoiding carbon
dioxide emissions when the rewetted peatlands are
used for the production of biomass to replace fossil
raw materials and fossil fuels.
This innovative alternative to drainage-based
peatland agri- and silviculture is called
paludiculture’: the sustainable production of
biomass on rewetted peatlands. In this paper we
present a short overview of our experiences with
paludiculture in Central Europe.
Paludiculture is the cultivation of biomass on wet and
rewetted peatlands. Ideally the peatlands should be so
wet that steady (long-term) peat accumulation is
maintained or re-installed. The basic principle of
paludiculture is to use only that part of net primary
production (NPP) that is not necessary for peat
formation (which is ca. 80-90% of NPP). In the
temperate, subtropical and tropical zones of the
world, i.e. those zones where high production is
possible, most mires by nature hold a vegetation of
which the aboveground parts can be harvested
without harming the peat sequestering capability. In
those areas natural peatlands are largely dominated
by cyperaceae, grasses, and trees, i.e. growth forms
that realize peat accumulation belowground by
ingrowing rootlets, roots, and rhizomes (‘replacement
peat’, Prager et al. 2006).
The quintessence of paludiculture is to cultivate plant
species that
1. thrive under wet conditions,
2. produce biomass of sufficient quantity and quality,
3. contribute to peat formation.
With respect to the first criterion, it is interesting to
notice that almost all agriculture focuses on drylands
on which substantial tillage is applied. Peatland
agriculture simply replicates this mode of operation,
although draining and tilling is the most effective
way to enhance peat oxidation and to destroy the
peatland subsistence base. (The exception on the rule
is wet-rice, which provides more than one fifth of the
calories of the human global diet.)
Peat formation can be assessed by constructing
complete carbon balances over long periods (cf.
Roulet et al. 2007). As this is a complicated and
laborious job, the peat forming capability of specific
species is generally deduced from peat composition
(Succow & Joosten 2001). Macrofossil analysis
shows that peats may contain macro-remains of a
large diversity of plant species, but that only a limited
number of these species contribute substantially to
the bulk of peat accumulation. Much more species
will probably add to the unrecognizable humus
component of peat but organic geochemical research
into this aspect of peat formation is still in its infancy.
The plant biomass that can be cultivated after
rewetting is of varied quality and allows for
differentiated uses (Wichtmann et al. 2000).
Successional plant-communities: The rewetting of
degraded fen peatlands often initiates luxurious
vegetation development. Depending on trophic state,
water regime, seed bank and other site conditions,
reed beds of Phalaris arundinacea,Glyceria maxima,
Phragmites, or Typha and more rarely sedges, but
also Salix cinerea scrubs establish. The selective
cultivation of site-adapted species (Cattail, Sedges,
Common Reed, Alder) can provide higher harvest
security than the utilisation of wild succession
communities (Wichtmann & Schäfer in press).
Table 1:Productivity of selected reeds and wetlands (after
Timmermann 2003)
Dominant species Productivity
t DW haí1 aí1
Common Reed (Phragmites australis) 3.6 - 43.5
Cattail (Typha latifolia) 4.8 - 22.1
Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) 3.5 - 22.5
Sweet Reedgrass (Glyceria maxima) 4.0 - 14.9
Lesser Pond-sedge (Carex acutiformis) 5.4 - 7.6
Great Pond-sedge (Carex riparia) 3.3 - 12.0
Fallow wet grassland
High-intensity grassland
6.4 - 7.4
8.8 - 10.4
Reed (Phragmites australis) has a high potential for
biomass production (Table 1). After rewetting of
intensively used peatlands it develops by spontaneous
succession or can be established artificially
(Timmermann 1999). Even at planting densities of
less than one plant per square metre, it rapidly forms
closed beds (Timmermann 1999). Its ecotypes
display genetically fixed differences in habitat
demands and productivity (Kühl et al. 1997), which
through selection can guarantee high productivity. A
sustained harvest of 15 t · haí1 dry matter can be
achieved in combination with continuing peat
accumulation (Wichtmann 1999a).
Reed can be utilised both as an energy source and as
an industrial raw material. Traditionally harvest for
roofing material (fig. 1) takes place in winter.
Cultivation and application has been described by
Rodewald-Rudescu (1974), Wichtmann (1999b), and
Wichtmann et al. (2000).
Cattail (Typha latifolia, T. angustifolia) cultivation
may lead to dry-matter harvests of up to 40 t · haí1
(Wild et al. 2001). The industrial uses of cattail range
from insulating materials to lightweight construction
boards. The optimum water levels for cattail reed-
beds are 20 to 150 cm above the surface. Unlike
Common Reed, the cattails can germinate during
submergence, but fail to form peat. Whether it is
possible to establish permanent cattail stands by
means of planting has to be investigated in
subsequent projects.
Figure 1: Cultivation of thatching reed on fen peatland
in Roswarowo, Poland
Sedges can also be utilised both energetically and
industrially. Experiments in Northeastern Germany
resulted in a successful establishment of Carex
gracilis,C. acutiformis,C. paniculata,C. elata and
C. riparia (Roth 2000). A dry-matter production of
up to 12 t · haí1 can be expected (Table 1).
Alder (Alnus glutinosa) produces a valuable wood
that, beside as a fuel, is suitable for veneer, carpentry,
and the production of high-quality massive wood
furniture (Kropf 1985). An alder forest of average
productivity yields after 70 years about 550 solid
cubic metres of wood per ha (Lockow 1994). The
crucial factor for alder forestry is a water regime just
under the surface which enables a commercial wood
harvest combined with peat formation and a positive
climate impact (Schäfer & Joosten 2005, table 2).
Table 2:The effect on global warming potential of afforesting rewetted fens with black alder (Alnus
glutinosa) (after Schäfer & Joosten 2005)
Global Warming Potential (GWP: CO2 equivalents, kg ha-1 a-1)
Water level N2O CH4
(peat accumulation)1
(wood formation) 1 GWP total
5 cm over surface
10 cm under surface
1 negative numbers denote net uptake into the soil or wood and positive climate impact
Figure 2: Alder cultivation on fen peatland in NE
Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) dominated
stands developed by natural succession over large
areas in restoration projects in NE Germany, where
insufficient water was available for complete
rewetting. Under such humid to wet conditions peat
oxidation is retarded substantially or stopped
completely. Unlike normal agricultural use, harvest
can be done in winter as lower S, Cl, K
concentrations improve the combustion properties
(Mortensen 1998, Burvall & Hedman 1998).
Peatmoss (Sphagnum spp.) can be cultivated on
rewetted cutover peatlands and on agriculturally used
bog grasslands after rewetting. The product can
replace fossil peat in horticulture (Gaudig & Joosten
2002, Gaudig et al. 2007)
Figure 3: Experimental Sphagnum cultivation plot in
NW Germany
Biomass from rewetted peatlands (BRP) can be used
as an energy source in direct combustion, in biogas
plants, and for the production of liquid ‘sun fuels’.
Energy recovery from BRP depends on the site
conditions, especially on the hydrologic and trophic
situation. Because of lack of data, the combustion
suitability of BRP is often compared with that of
cereals and Miscanthus that have been cultivated on
mineral soils with heavy fertilization. These have
much higher ash contents, lower ash melting
temperatures and higher sulphur and chloride
concentrations in their exhaust fumes compared to
wood, which may cause slagging and corrosion in the
co-generation power plants. Biomass from peat soils,
however, normally has much lower contents of these
Comparison of Common Reed (from near brackish
water), Reed Canary Gras (from mineral soil) and
spruce wood (including bark) (table 3) shows that the
carbon content of these biofuels is comparable. The
ash content of the former two is about 10 times
higher than that of wood, probably because of the
mineral soil and near-brackish origin of these crops.
Table 3:Combustion related properties of different biomass crops. Values in % dry weight
(after Eder et al. 2004, Hartmann et al. 2003, Kastberg & Burvall 1998)
Common Reed Reed Canary Grass Spruce wood
Carbon content 46 – 47 45,4 49,8
Sulfur content 0.04 – 0.05 0.1 0.015
Nitrogen content 0.24 – 0.30 0.62 0.13
Chlorine content 0.2 0.05 0.005
Ash content 5.12 8.0 0.6
Min. heating value MJ/kg 17.5 16.9 19,5
The ash melting temperature of the investigated
Common Reed (1420 °C) is higher than the value for
wood and Reed Canary Grass indicating that – in
contrast to other grasses and cereals – combustion
does not lead to technical problems (Eder et al. 2004,
Hofbauer et al. 2001).
If the harvested biomass is intended for energy
production the harvesting machines may be less
sophisticated and expensive than those for the
production of quality reed for roofing or other
industrial purposes (Wichtmann 1999b). Transport,
for instance, can proceed in big bales. Biomass-to-
liquid (BTL) plants, for example require unspecific
biomass with high carbon and low water contents
(less than 35 % of water). These requirements are
easily met by Reed Canary Grass and Common Reed
harvested in winter.
Depending on the price of energy the exploitation of
less productive stands becomes feasible, especially
when the climatic and other benefits are taken into
account and adequately remunerated.
An assessment for Northern Germany showed that
out of a total of 830,000 hectares of fen peatlands a
quarter could be managed for BRP-production
(Wichtmann 2003, Wichtmann & Schäfer 2005).
With yields of 10 tonnes per hectare and year, about
20 Million tonnes dry biomass would be available,
corresponding to the demand of 20 biomass-
combustion plants with 20 MW-capacity each (cf
Thrän & Kaltschmitt 2001).
Biodiversity benefits
Paludicultures will also harbor species that are not
directly aimed for. In normal agriculture such species
are called ‘weeds’ or ‘vermin’. In paludicultures
these will also include species that have become rare
and endangered because of the massive decline of
their natural wet-humid habitats. The re-
establishment of mire and mire-like conditions after
rewetting will provide new habitats for these species,
whereas biomass harvesting keeps the sites in a
suitable succession stage. A nice example is the
conservation of the globally threatened Aquatic
Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) in successfully
commercially used reedlands in Western-Poland (fig.
1, Tegetmeyer et al. 2007). In Sphagnum cultivation
plots we find interesting ‘weeds’ like Drosera and
other bogs plants.
From the viewpoint of species and habitat
conservation a rewetting of degraded peatlands and a
subsequent use for biomass cultivation generally is to
be preferred over keeping the areas in a drained and
degraded state.
Additional benefits
Next to the global climatic benefits from rewetting
and the production of raw materials for industrial and
energy use, paludicultures have several additional
advantages, including
An improvement of regional landscape hydrology
because water is kept longer in the landscape
A mitigation of regional climatic change by
providing additional evapotranspiration cooling
The restoration of habitats for rare mire species and
A reduction of nutrient run-off (e.g. nitrogen) into
surface waters
The prevention of peatland fires (very important in
the Chernobyl region where fires lead to re-
emission of radio-active substances)
The establishment of new land-use concepts with
minimal damage to the environment
A revitalisation of rural economies by combining
traditional land use with new ways of processing
The conservation of an open cultural landscape
An improved economic basis through (eco)tourism,
as paludicultures are generally more attractive than
degraded peatlands
An increase in energy political autarchy by local
energy production.
Monetarisation of these values would significantly
enlarge the visibility of the economic benefits of
There are 80 million hectares of drained peatlands
worldwide that heavily contribute to the greenhouse
effect. Rewetting these peatlands will substantially
reduce global anthropogenic greenhouse gas
emissions. Additionally, this rewetting can contribute
to avoiding emissions by producing biomass for
industrial use and for the generation of energy. Given
a continuing rise in prices, the utilisation of biomass
is becoming more and more attractive and rewetted
peatlands may become as valuable as highly
productive arable lands. It is therefore advisable to
rewet as much peatland as possible, wherever the
hydrological conditions permit it.
Paludicultures are still in their infancy because agri-,
horti-, and silviculture have traditionally focused on
drained sites. Priority is to identify for every climatic
zone species suited for paludiculture and variants and
clones for optimal cultivation.
Paludicultures may be ideal as hydrological buffer
zones around pristine peatlands which themselves
should be strictly preserved wherever they have
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Wendelin Wichtmann:
Hans Joosten:
... It is seen as: "a sustainable production of biomass on rewetted peatlands"(p. 24, Wichtmann & Joosten, 2007). Examples of paludiculture production are cattail (Typha latifolia), cranberry (Vaccinium subg. ...
... Examples of paludiculture production are cattail (Typha latifolia), cranberry (Vaccinium subg. Oxycoccus) and sphagnum (Sphagnum sp.) (Joosten et al., 2016;Wichmann et al., 2012;Wichtmann & Joosten, 2007). Paludiculture is in an early stage of its development in the Dutch peatlands. ...
Full-text available
In The Netherlands, peatlands have been drained on a wide scale, causing the decomposition of peat with subsidence and greenhouse gas emissions as a result. The Dutch government aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands by 1,0 Mt CO2-eq in 2030 and has committed itself to a 95% reduction in 2050, which will translate to a reduction of 3,9 Mt CO2-eq compared to 1990. Provinces are currently developing strategies to achieve the 2030 goal and a nationwide research program has been set up to monitor and model emissions better. Based on these ongoing strategies and programs, this study wants to inform about the necessary intermediate steps and ultimate objective needed to reach the reduction goals of 1 Mt CO2-eq reduction in 2030 and a reduction of 95%, 3,9 Mt, in 2050 for the Dutch peatlands by designing possible scenarios and pathways. Where scenarios only describe management strategies in detail, pathways showcase the effect of these scenarios on greenhouse gas emissions and radiative forcing in the form of trajectories. In order to develop pathways for this study, the current literature around emission factors was summarized, existing provinces’ strategies were analysed for trends and weaknesses, new scenarios were developed, and the scenarios’ effects on greenhouse gas emissions and radiative forcing were calculated. Based on this study, several recommendations can be made. Firstly, it is recommended that CH4 emissions are incorporated in National Inventory Reporting and the Soil Organic Matter Emission Registration System model. Secondly, it is recommended to stop neglecting peaty soils in Dutch reduction goals since peaty soils emit more greenhouse gasses than peatlands in 2050 when no actions are taken. Thirdly, conventional farming practices, defined as land uses with “very deep drainage”, “deep drainage”, “moderate drainage”, and “submerged drainage”, will be impossible to maintain if a 95% reduction goal in 2050 wants to be reached for the Dutch peatlands. Lastly, measures that work in reaching the 2030 goal proved to be insufficient in reaching the 2050 goal. Therefore, it is recommended that the government set up a process to define a realistic goal for 2050. In this way, all parties can already take this 2050 goal into account when developing their strategy for the coming decade.
... Ketika pohon di hutan rawa gambut terus ditebang, maka lahan gambut akan semakin terdegradasi, mengingat dahan, ranting, dan batang kayu yang terpaludifikasi merupakan bahan utama pembentuk gambut tropis (Page, Rieley, Shotyk, & Weiss, 1999;S. Page, Wust, & Banks, 2010;Wichtmann & Joosten, 2007). Penebangan secara terus-menerus terhadap pohon di hutan rawa gambut akan menurunkan kerapatan hutan, meningkatkan penetrasi sinar matahari sehingga meningkatkan penguapan air. ...
... Membudidayakan pohon di lahan gambut tropis berarti membudidayakan gambut (paludikultur). Paludikultur adalah budidaya jenis tanaman yang dapat berkembang pada kondisi tempat tumbuh yang basah, menghasilkan biomassa yang cukup, baik dalam kualitas maupun kuantitas dan berkontribusi dalam pembentukan gambut (Biancalani & Avagyan, 2014;Wichtmann & Joosten, 2007). Saat ini, dengan kondisi lahan gambut tergradasi, diperlukan upaya restorasi ataupun perbaikan ekosistem gambut. ...
Full-text available
Pengalaman ekstraksi kayu hutan rawa gambut di masa lalu ternyata menyebabkan degradasi hutan rawa gambut. Pengarusutamaan kayu sebagai hasil dari sektor kehutanan ternyata menyebabkan tidak tersentuhnya peluang pengembangan komoditas HHBK, sehingga relatif tertinggal dengan komoditas kayu. Upaya untuk mendorong pengembangan HHBK sebenarnya tidak bisa terlepas dari keberadaan pohon di hutan rawa gambut. Pohon, diharapkan menjadi entry point untuk membangkitkan hasil hutan bukan kayu sebagai komoditas utama dari hutan rawa gambut. Selain menjadi entrpoint bagi pengembangan HHBK di hutan rawa gambut, pohon menjadi pabrik biomassa pembentuk gambut, sehingga paludikultur menjadi acuan bagi budidaya pohon di hutan rawa gambut terdegradasi.
... The principle of paludiculture is the sustainable cultivation of biomass on wetlands and rewetted peatlands [50]. Paludiculture historically began in several countries in Western Europe, including Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland. ...
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Indonesia’s tropical peatlands are one of the world’s largest carbon sinks, and they are facing the threat of extensive degradation and conversion. The Indonesian government is committed to peat restoration. However, restoration is still a costly, top-down approach lacking community participation, and is focused on the 3R scheme (rewetting, revegetation, and revitalization). Peatland restoration businesses are part of the innovative effort to finance this endeavor. Unfortunately, there is not much information available about the pre-conditions required to create a restoration business. This study seeks to understand the enabling conditions for the development of peatland restoration, with a focus on the tamanu oil business, and to assess whether the same situation might apply in the context of the restoration of degraded peatland. PEST analysis is used to describe the macro-environmental factors of the tamanu oil business and its development opportunities in degraded peatlands. Tamanu oil-based peat ecosystem restoration businesses offer good prospects because of the growing it has grown the bioenergy and biomedical markets, and they can cover a larger area of degraded peatland landscape. For tamanu oil businesses to succeed in peat ecosystem restoration, we recommend that policy documents at various levels include tamanu as a priority commodity for peatland restoration and alternative community businesses, followed by planting programs by all stakeholders. The government and social organizations must take positions as initiators and catalysts, establish a significant number and extent of pilot tamanu plantations, and create a mutually supportive business climate between entrepreneurs and peatland managers.
... The concept of paludiculture has been proposed as a sustainable land-use option for peatlands for a long time already (Wichtmann & Joosten, 2007), yet large-scale practical implementation is still at the beginning. The reasons for this are manifold, including the political framework, economic uncertainties but also lack of knowledge on the selection of suitable species or varieties for given environmental conditions. ...
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Drainage has turned 650,000 km2 of peatlands worldwide into greenhouse gas sources. To counteract climate change, large‐scale rewetting is necessary while agricultural use of rewetted areas, termed paludiculture, is still possible. However, more information is required on the performance of suitable species, such as cattail, in the range of environmental conditions after rewetting. We investigated productivity and biomass quality (morphological traits and tissue chemical composition) of Typha angustifolia and Typha latifolia along gradients of water table depth (−45 to +40 cm) and nutrient addition (3.6–400 kg N ha−1 a−1) in a six‐month mesocosm experiment with an emphasis on their high‐value utilization, e.g., as building material, paper, or biodegradable packaging. Over a wide range of investigated conditions, T. latifolia was more productive than T. angustifolia. Productivity was remarkably tolerant of low nutrient addition, suggesting that long‐term productive paludiculture is possible. Low water tables were beneficial for T. latifolia productivity and high water tables for T. angustifolia biomass quality. Rewetting will likely create a mosaic of different water table depths. Our findings that the yield of T. angustifolia and tissue chemical composition of T. latifolia were largely unaffected by water table depth are therefore promising. Depending on intended utilization, optimal cultivation conditions and preferable species differ. Considering yield or diameter, e.g., for building materials, T. latifolia is generally preferable over T. angustifolia. A low N, P, K content, high Si content and high C/N‐ratio can be beneficial for processing into disposable tableware, charcoal, or building material. For these utilizations, T. angustifolia is preferable at high water tables, and both species should be cultivated at a low nutrient supply. When cellulose and lignin contents are relevant, e.g., for paper and biodegradable packaging, T. angustifolia is preferable at high water tables and both species should be cultivated at nutrient additions of about 20 kg N ha−1 a−1. In a six‐month mesocosm experiment, we investigated productivity and biomass quality (morphological traits, tissue chemical composition) of promising paludiculture crops Typha angustifolia and Typha latifolia along gradients of water table depth and nutrient supply with an emphasis on the plants' high‐value utilization (e.g. as building material, paper, biodegradable packaging). Biomass quality requirements, optimal cultivation conditions and preferred species differ depending on intended utilization: Within the scope of investigated conditions, T. latifolia was generally more productive than T. angustifolia, productivity was remarkably tolerant of low nutrient supply and these conditions benefitted tissue chemical composition. T. angustifolia productivity and T. latifolia tissue chemical composition remained stable across water tables, however, low water tables were beneficial for T. latifolia productivity, high water tables beneficial for T. angustifolia biomass quality.
... To reduce these risks, canal blocking and peat rewetting are recognized as effective measures (Gewin 2018). Paludiculture is the agricultural or silvicultural use of wet or rewetted peatlands (Wichtmann and Joosten 2007). For practitioners, the ability of paludiculture to provide significant benefits to farmers and/or industries is still being examined (Budiman et al. 2020), especially in rewetted peatlands. ...
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Sustainable land use through rewetting is becoming increasingly important in drained peatlands. We assessed the recovery of productivity of smallholder paludiculture using sago palm (Metroxylon sagu) in a rewetted peatland on Tebing Tinggi Island, Riau Province, Indonesia, which had been drained and burned in 2014. Stand structure and productivity of sago palms in smallholder plantations were measured in December 2016, November 2017, and March 2020. The sago stands were divided into three stands structure groups (pre-harvest stands, mid- to post-harvest stands, and growing period stands) according to gaps in the harvesting cycle, which were distributed in a mosaic pattern. Only those sago palms that had reached their maximum size were harvested, and as a result the mosaic pattern varied over time (spatial variation). The estimated harvest trunk height after rewetting was 8.9±1.5 m (mean±SD), which was not significantly different from that before drainage (9.7±0.4 m). The average annual yield of sago was 26.8 trunks ha-1, and there was large annual variation. Annual yield of paludiculture conducted after rewetting recovered to the same yield as that before drainage (26.0 trunks ha-1). Such size distribution patterns and large fluctuations in yield are characteristic of semi-traditional smallholder sago cultivation. Despite fluctuations in annual yield, harvesting only suitable individuals allows sago palms to be supplied every year. The findings obtained in this study will contribute to national and regional efforts to initiate paludiculture using sago palms.
... In general, rewetting of formerly drained organic soils not only reduces GHG emissions, but also creates a favorable environment for re-establishment of peat forming conditions and reactivating the C sink function, which is characteristic of well-functioning natural mires. In the case of reed, it is estimated that only 10-20 percent of its net primary production contributes to peat formation and maintenance, and therefore an estimated of 80-90 percent is available to harvest without compromising the peatland integrity (Wichtmann and Joosten, 2007). Rodzkin, Kundas and Wichtmann (2017) 6. ...
... To var panākt, ja vidējo ūdens līmeni saglabā tuvu (≤ 11,7 cm, Lamentowicz et al., 2019) augsnes virskārtai, izvairoties no darbībām, kas ietekmē augsnes virskārtu un veģetācijas sakņu slāni. Paludikultūrā izmanto spontāni izaugušu vai kultivētu biomasu no slapjajiem kūdrājiem, un šādos apstākļos kūdra saglabājas vai pat veidojas no jauna (Wichtmann & Joosten 2007). Izmantošanas iespējas attiecas tikai uz virszemes biomasu (ar izņēmumiem), kas iegūta no videi pielāgotām mitrāju sugām (lapām, stublājiem, ziedkopām, augļiem, sēklām un putekšņiem). ...
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Vācijas Federālās Vides ministrijas (BMU) Eiropas klimata iniciatīvas (EUKI) projektā ar partneriem no Vācijas, Igaunijas, Latvijas un Lietuvas tika sagatavots priekšizpētes ziņojums “Paludikultūru ieviešana Baltijas valstīs”. Projekta galvenais mērķis ir noteikt iespējas un ierobežojumus attiecībā uz ūdens līmeņa atjaunošanu kūdrājos un to izmantošanu, lai ražotu biomasu dažādiem izejmateriāliem un izmantotu enerģētikā, kas reizē ir arī kā pasākumi klimata pārmaiņu mazināšanas un pielāgošanās stratēģijās noteiktajos mērķos Baltijas valstīs. Vispārīgajā daļā ir aprakstīta paludikultūras koncepcija un tās potenciāls SEG emisiju mazināšanā zemes izmantošanas sektorā. Mēs iepazīstinām ar mūsu novērtējuma pieeju, kuru izmantojām, lai identificētu potenciāli piemērotākās vietas Baltijas valstīs, kur varētu ieviest mazemisiju mitru zemju izmantošanu (paludikultūras). Novērtējuma rezultātā ir iegūta informācija par visas Baltijas jūras reģiona platību pieejamību un gatavību paludikultūru ieviešanai. Vērtējot vietas potenciālu, mēs atlasījām piemērotākās paludikultūru iespējas augstajos un zemajos purvos (īsumā izklāstīts šī dokumenta sākuma daļā), kuras pamatotas ar ekonomiskās dzīvotspējas novērtējuma rādītājiem konkrētās valsts (Igaunijas, Latvijas un Lietuvas) nodaļās. Viens no projekta mērķiem ir apspriesties ar ieinteresētajām personām un praktiķiem, lai precizētu potenciāli pieejamo teritoriju platības paludikultūru audzēšanai, atmetot tās teritorija, kuras pēc Ģeogrāfiskās Informācijas Sistēmas (ĢIS) analīzes ir piemērotas, bet dabā tādas nav. Vēl viens mērķis ir vienas izmēģinājuma vietas izvēle katrai Baltijas valstij, lai sagatavotu plānošanas dokumentus paludikultūru ieviešanas pilotprojekta īstenošanai.
Referring to the manifold studies and the long-term experiences of the restoration of near-natural ecosystems and traditional land-use types, respectively, examples from all over the world are outlined. Additionally to rewilding as a progressive approach to nature conservation, letting nature take care of itself and enabling natural processes, particularly the restoration of heathland, agricultural grassland, savannas, agroforestry systems, silvopastoral systems, coppice forests, lakes, peatland, coastal mangroves, terraced and irrigation land-use systems is addressed. The unique features of these ecosystems and land-use systems, respectively, which are or could be embedded in traditional and multifunctional cultural landscapes encompass high biodiversity, agrobiodiversity, and agrodiversity, respectively, as well as the provision of manifold ecosystem and landscape services.
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Heute werden etwa 40 % aller im Umlauf befindlichen Kunststoffe für Verpackungen verwendet (Plastics Europe 2019), davon etwa 60 % für Lebensmittel und Getränke, der Rest für Non-Food-Anwendungen. In Deutschland erreichte der Verpackungsverbrauch bei Glas im Jahr 2018 35,0 kg/Kopf, bei Papier 98,5 kg/Kopf und bei Kunststoff 39,0 kg/Kopf (Umweltbundesamt 2020). Kunststoffabfälle stellen aus Sicht des Recyclings eines der komplexesten Materialgemische dar. Darüber hinaus gibt es zunehmend Probleme in Bezug auf Umweltschäden, die hauptsächlich mit der Herstellung der Materialien zusammenhängen. Trotz der negativen Umwelt- und Gesundheitseffekte werden fossile Kunststoffe wegen ihres geringen Gewichts und ihrer geringen Kosten nach wie vor bevorzugt. Um das Problem der negativen Auswirkungen fossiler Kunststoffe auf die menschliche Gesundheit und die Umwelt zu bewältigen, müssen bei der Entwicklung und Herstellung von Kunststoffen zukünftig die End-of-Use-Strategien wie Wiederverwendung, Reparatur und Recycling deutlich stärker berücksichtigt werden (EU 2018). Dies führt zu einem Paradigmenwechsel von der linearen zur Kreislaufwirtschaft. Die Kernprinzipien „take, make, dispose“ einer linearen Wirtschaft werden in einer Kreislaufwirtschaft durch „take, make, re-use“ ersetzt. Die Wiederverwendung umfasst zirkuläre Kriterien wie Reparatur, Aufarbeitung und Recycling (Taleb 2021). Innerhalb des letzten Jahrzehnts hat die Entwicklung und Förderung nachhaltigerer Materia-lien eine Schlüsselrolle auf sozialer und politischer Ebene in der EU übernommen (EC 2018).
Peat is the most important constituent for growing media due to its beneficial chemical, physical and biological properties. However, the use of peat is being criticized for environmental reasons. As substitutes of high quality are not sufficiently available, the potential of fen plants, which can be sustainably cultivated on rewetted peatlands, was evaluated. When using chopped plant material without further processing, nitrogen immobilization was identified as the main problem. The aims of this study were (1) to evaluate if composting is a suitable treatment to stabilize nitrogen dynamics of fen plant materials and (2) to test if fen plant materials are free from phytotoxic substances before and after composting. Typha latifolia, Phragmites australis and Phalaris arundinacea were harvested in the period January to March, air-dried and chopped. After the addition of nitrogen (Phragmites: 1000 mg N L‑1; Typha: 500 mg N L‑1; Phalaris: 250 mg N L‑1) and other nutrients, the biomass was composted in small-scale-composters (1.8 m3) for 130 days. The material was turned and moistened on demand and again N-fertilized if necessary. Before, during and after composting, incubation experiments were conducted to quantify the nitrogen immobilization of the plant material. Furthermore, seedling tests with Chinese cabbage were performed at different nitrogen levels to check the absence of phytotoxic substances. Nitrogen immobilization could be reduced from 230 to 59 mg N L‑1 (Typha), from 1106 to 835 mg N L‑1 (Phragmites) and from 390 to 155 mg N L‑1 (Phalaris) within three weeks of composting. At the end of the composting process, also for Phragmites a good stabilization of the nitrogen dynamics was achieved. Irrespective of composting time, Chinese cabbage seedlings in peat reduced growing media containing fen plant material in quantities of 50% by volume showed similar fresh weights than in the peat control if N fertilization was adequate. Hence, no phytotoxic substances were present.
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Northern peatlands contain up to 25% of the world's soil carbon (C) and have an estimated annual exchange of CO2-C with the atmosphere of 0.1–0.5 Pg yr−1 and of CH4-C of 10–25 Tg yr−1. Despite this overall importance to the global C cycle, there have been few, if any, complete multiyear annual C balances for these ecosystems. We report a 6-year balance computed from continuous net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE), regular instantaneous measurements of methane (CH4) emissions, and export of dissolved organic C (DOC) from a northern ombrotrophic bog. From these observations, we have constructed complete seasonal and annual C balances, examined their seasonal and interannual variability, and compared the mean 6-year contemporary C exchange with the apparent C accumulation for the last 3000 years obtained from C density and age-depth profiles from two peat cores. The 6-year mean NEE-C and CH4-C exchange, and net DOC loss are −40.2±40.5 (±1 SD), 3.7±0.5, and 14.9±3.1 g m−2 yr−1, giving a 6-year mean balance of −21.5±39.0 g m−2 yr−1 (where positive exchange is a loss of C from the ecosystem). NEE had the largest magnitude and variability of the components of the C balance, but DOC and CH4 had similar proportional variabilities and their inclusion is essential to resolve the C balance. There are large interseasonal and interannual ranges to the exchanges due to variations in climatic conditions. We estimate from the largest and smallest seasonal exchanges, quasi-maximum limits of the annual C balance between 50 and −105 g m−2 yr−1. The net C accumulation rate obtained from the two peatland cores for the interval 400–3000 bp (samples from the anoxic layer only) were 21.9±2.8 and 14.0±37.6 g m−2 yr−1, which are not significantly different from the 6-year mean contemporary exchange.
The utilisation of fens as grasslands is generally accompanied by heavy environmental impacts and the loss of species diversity. Water management and the utilisation of fens as grassland has a long tradition and has been sustainable over long periods of time, but fen grasslands are now subject to abandonment and overdrainage. This paper introduces alternative concepts for fen-peatland use which involve the restoration of the natural hydrological conditions. Problems in the rewetting of peatlands include nutrient excess, vegetation succession in undesirable directions, and shrub encroachment. One way to counteract them is the continuous removal of plant biomass. The biomass can be used as an energy source in direct combustion, in biogas plants and for the production of liquid 'sun fuels'. The artificial introduction of habitat-adapted plant species after rewetting could be a feasible alternative to spontaneous vegetation development. Regarding their ecological value and environmental benefits, managed rewetted fen peatlands clearly surpass drained grasslands and are even comparable to undrained, unmanaged sites. They also hold economical promise. In Northern Germany alone, more than 200,000 hectares of lowlands could be rewetted for biomass production. The harvest from these areas could feed 20 power plants of 20 MW capacity each.
The most important raw material in professional horticulture is white peat, which has developed from peatmosses (Sphagnum) in living bogs. About 30 millions m3 of white peat are globally used for this purpose annually. The use of (white) peat involves two main problems: 1. Peat extraction destroys the important functions of bogs for nature conservation and climate regulation (as carbon storage). 2. Peat is a finite raw material. In most countries of Western and Central Europe the stocks of fossil white peat are nearly depleted. Therefore a non-polluting alternative ensuring a lasting and sustainable supply of raw material has to be developed. This alternative could be the cultivation of peatmosses (Sphagnum farming). Fresh peatmoss biomass has the same physical and chemical properties as white peat and enables plant cultivation without a loss of quality (Emmel, 2008). In a three year research project "Peatmoss as a renewable resource"(financed by the German governmental Agency of Renewable Resources FNR), the University of Greifswald in cooperation with the Institute of Soil Technology in Bremen and the German peat industry, studied the optimal conditions for Sphagnum growth. The first promising results show that with aimed measures and nursing (e.g., water level regulation) peatmoss growth can be encouraged.
Below-ground biomass and nitrogen content were determined at two genetically homogeneous Phragmites stands differing in morphology, in productivity, and in nutrient supply. Comparable ratios between above-ground standing crop and rhizome biomass were found at both sites, whereas the root biomass/above standing crop ratio was significantly higher at the nutrient poor site. Investigations on the dynamics of nitrogen content revealed distinct differences in nitrogen translocation to the rhizomes between the investigated clones indicating two ecophysiological strategies in storage behaviour. These two strategies could be attached to the “assimilation type” and to the “translocation type”, respectively. A modified definition of both types is presented.
This paper presents a new concept for the restoration of an agricultural landscape. The combination of water purification and peatland restoration was tested in a degraded fen area in southern Germany. For this purpose, Typha angustifolia L. and T. latifolia L. were cultivated in constructed wetlands. The wetlands were provided with drainage water from an agricultural watershed. The system presented here seems well suited to fulfil the important functional objectives for peatland restoration. First, a water regime typical of fenland was re-established and second, the Typha stands showed a high phytomass production. Consequently the function of the peatland as a sink in the nutrient cycle may be reactivated. Preliminary results for vegetation monitoring, water quality and gas flux measurements are briefly presented.
Perennial rhizomatous grass: The delayed harvest system improves fuel characteristics for reed canary grass Sustainable agriculture for food, energy and industry
  • J B Burvall
  • Hedman
Burvall, J. & B. Hedman 1998. Perennial rhizomatous grass: The delayed harvest system improves fuel characteristics for reed canary grass. In: El Bassam, N., Behl, R.K. & Prochnow, B. (eds.): Sustainable agriculture for food, energy and industry. James & James, London, pp. 916 -918.
A touch of tropics in temperate mires: on Alder carrs and carbon cycles
  • A Prager
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Prager, A., Barthelmes, A. & Joosten, H. 2006. A touch of tropics in temperate mires: on Alder carrs and carbon cycles. Peatlands International 2006/2: 26-31. Rodewald-Rudescu, L. 1974. Das Schilfrohr.
Yield and chemical composition of reed canary grass populations in autumn and spring
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Mortensen, J. 1998. Yield and chemical composition of reed canary grass populations in autumn and spring. In: El Bassam, N., Behl, R.K. & Prochnow, B. (eds.): Sustainable agriculture for food, energy and industry. James & James, London, pp. 951 -954
Die Erle und die Verwendung ihres Holzes. Teil 3: Obstkisten, Bienenbeuten, Spielzeug und Tischlerei. Holz-Zentralblatt 111: 2146. Teil 5: Drechslerei, Uhrengehäuse und sonstige Verwendungen
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Peatland restoration and climate: on possible fluxes of gases and money
  • H Joosten
  • J Augustin
Joosten, H. & Augustin, J. 2006. Peatland restoration and climate: on possible fluxes of gases and money. In: Bambalov, N.N. (ed.): Peat in solution of energy, agriculture and ecology problems. Tonpik, Minsk, pp. 412 -417.