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17 Aug 2021, 13:50
Kerstine Appunn

Rewetting organic soils with high potential for Germany’s natural carbon sinks – report

Clean Energy Wire

Promoting agroforestry, reforestation, sustainable forest management and, in particular, the rewetting of peatland soils have an important role to play in preserving and expanding Germany’s natural carbon sinks, a report by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) for the German Energy Agency (dena) finds. The report evaluated and compared the potential for emission uptake in the Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) sector. According to Germany’s Climate Action Law, the LULUCF sector is expected to withdraw 40 million tonnes CO2 equiv. as a sink in 2045 to offset unavoidable emissions from other sectors, for example farming and industry. “This goal is extremely ambitious, especially when taking into account the current trend of declining natural sinks and the threats to the condition of forests and natural ecosystems due to climate change,” dena writes in a press release. Agency head Andreas Kuhlmann "to achieve climate neutrality, we must tap all potentials” while at the same time keeping an eye on the arising conflicts of interest.  “The more we rely on the contribution of natural sinks, the less biomass could be available for the various climate neutrality scenarios.”

German ministries in early August failed to agree on a moorland protection strategy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from drained peatlands, meaning it can no longer be adopted in the current legislative period ending in September.Instead of acting as carbon sinks, drained German moorlands today are greenhouse gas emitters. To change this, the government has made it a measure under the Climate Action Law to finance the re-wetting of peat soils with up to 2.1 billion euros until 2030.

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