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Paludiculture – Productive Use of Wet Peatlands: Climate Protection – Biodiversity – Regional Economic Benefits

By: Wendelin Wichtmann(Editor), Christian Schröder(Editor), Hans Joosten(Editor), Michael Succow(Preface By), Martin Frick(Foreword By)

272 pages, 153 colour & b/w photos and b/w illustrations, 109 tables

Schweizerbart Science Publishers

Hardback | Apr 2016 | #229227 | ISBN-13: 9783510652839
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £82.99 $106/€90 approx

About this book

Language: English

Peatlands cover some 4 million km² worldwide. Approximately 15% of this area – particularly in the temperate zone and the (sub)tropics – is drained, largely to be used for conventional agriculture and forestry. Drainage leads to irreparable damage to peatlands. Subsidence and soil degradation frustrate long-term peatland utilisation and are responsible for almost 6% of the total global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Soil degradation and greenhouse gas emissions can be strongly reduced by rewetting. Rewetting, however, makes conventional land use impossible. In contrast, paludiculture on wet and rewetted peatlands allows for permanent, sustainable cultivation of peatlands.

The volume introduces paludiculture as a novel land use practice for the production of biomass, which is further able to reactivate or sustain a wide variety of ecosystem services impaired by peatland drainage. Biomass from wet peatlands is useful for various applications: as fuel and raw material, food, fodder and medicine.

The authors discuss and evaluate the ecosystem services and economic feasibility of various land use options. Practical recommendations for and legal aspects of implementing paludicultural methods are presented as well as experiences with its worldwide application. The historical development of peatland utilization, including its increasing intensification, the resulting soil degradation, and the recent development of paludiculture as an alternative, balanced land use approach are described.

Paludiculture – Productive Use of Wet Peatlands provides extensive information for practioners and scientists as well as decision-makers in politics, management, and explains the principles of wise peatland management, encouraging the worldwide implementation of paludiculture as a unique form of sustainable utilisation of organic soils.


Preface by the laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, Michael Succow V
Foreword by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Martin Frick VI

1 Paludiculture as an inclusive solution 1

2 The limits of drainage based peatland utilisation 3
2.1 Fen peatland use in Northeast Germany 3
2.2 Drainage induced peat degradation processes 7
2.3 Impact of drainage on productivity 9
2.4 Ecosystem services of peatlands 13

3 Production and utilisation of paludiculture biomass 21
3.1 Promising plants for paludiculture 22
3.2 Edible and medical plants from paludiculture 38
3.3 The production of fodder in paludiculture 39
3.4 Material use of biomass from paludiculture 43
3.5 Solid energy from biomass 44
3.6 Liquid and gaseous biofuels 54

4 Harvest and logistics 59
4.1 Trafficability of wet and rewetted fens 59
4.2 Agricultural machinery for wet areas 64
4.3 Logistics of biomass production on wet peatlands 70
4.4 The feasibility of biomass harvest from paludiculture 76

5 Ecosystem services provided by paludiculture 79
5.1 Greenhouse gas emissions 79
5.2 Biodiversity 94
5.3 Local climate and hydrology 102
5.4 Nutrient balance and water pollution control 106

6 Economics of paludiculture 109
6.1 Economic aspects of paludiculture on the farm level 109
6.2 Certification of biomass from paludiculture 120
6.3 The creation of regional value 132
6.4 Welfare aspects of land use on peatland 134

7 Legal and political aspects of paludiculture 143
7.1 The legal framework 143
7.2 Agricultural policy 149
7.3 Control mechanisms and incentives for paludiculture 152

8 Social aspects of paludiculture implementation 157
8.1 The relationship between humans and mires over time 157
8.2 The integration of stakeholders and the public 162
8.3 Acceptance and implementation at the producer level 168
8.4 Transfer of knowledge 171

9 Sustainability and implementation of paludiculture 175
9.1 Sustainable land use 175
9.2 Availability of suitable areas 178
9.3 The decision-support tool TORBOS 185
9.4 Technical measures for implementing paludiculture 188
9.5 Implementation and administrative approval in Germany 194

10 Paludiculture in a global context 197
10.1 Global demands and international commitments 199
10.2 The global potential and perspectives for paludiculture 200
10.3 Germany - Rewetting and paludiculture in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania 204
10.4 Belarus - Biomass from rewetted peatlands as a substitute for peat and for promoting biodiversity 205
10.5 Poland - Paludiculture for biodiversity and peatland protection 207
10.6 Indonesia - Paludiculture as sustainable land use 217
10.7 China - Paper from the water 223
10.8 Canada - Harvesting Typha spp. for nutrient capture and bioeconomy at Lake Winnipeg 226

11 The way out of the desert - What needs to be done 229
11.1 Problems of peatland management and the necessity of paludiculture 229
11.2 Challenges for practice 230
11.3 Awareness raising and communication 231
11.4 Politics and society 231
11.5 Research questions 232
11.6 Outlook 233

References 235
List of contributors 263
Index 265

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