The Research Component in the Climate and Biodiversity Project

Rewetting and Sustainable Management of Peatlands – A Climate Protection Project with Benefits for the Economy and Biodiversity

As part of our project “Rewetting and Sustainable Management of Peatlands in Belarus” (funded through the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety), we are conducting a wide array of studies. In the course of these studies, members of our staff, in co-operation with scientists from the University of Greifswald and two young CIM (Centre for International Migration) experts (both graduates from Greifswald University) are modifying the GEST (Greenhouse gas Emission Site Type) approach. The GEST approach is based on the vegetation form, concept developed at Greifswald University. It interlinks water levels, vegetation types and nutrient contents of each respective investigation site.


The emission values of many peatlands and peatland utilisation types in Western and Northeastern Europe are known through a meta-study. Based on this situation, we combine vegetation forms with emission types to attain an adequate estimate for the qualitative and quantitative verification of emissions and/or their prevention in rewetted areas. Missing data about emission types will be supplemented through our own greenhouse gas measurements in Belarus. In the course of this project, we build a young team of researchers who can put the local results on a broader basis and have the potential to develop into a national centre of competence.


Our project partners are the ZALF in Müncheberg (Prof. Jürgen Augustin), the University of Greifswald (Prof. Hans Joosten and John Couwenberg), and Dr. Franziska Tanneberger.

Besides the development of a market-ready GEST approach, our work in Belarus includes the further development of remote sensing techniques for the classification of wetland vegetation. Upon completion, this qualification will offer another affordable and extensively applicable tool for vegetation mapping and monitoring in rewetted areas.


In addition, we studied the effect of rewetting on biodiversity, especially on the occurrence of the Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola), as well as the productivity of various peatland habitats. The results of the latter study were used for profitability calculations concerning the potential implementation of paludiculture (“wet agriculture") on rewetted peatlands.



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Project coordination:

Wendelin Wichtmann, email: