223 pages, 96 colour & b/w photos, illustrations and maps; 41 tables
Drained peatlands account for only 0.3% of the global land area. At the same time, drained peatlands are the source of a disproportional 6% of total anthropogenic CO2-emissions; a problem that needs to be addressed. The 'hotspots' are well known: Southeast Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, parts of the United States and Northeast China. The solution is obvious: Restore high water levels in peatlands. But many questions remain.
How does rewetting affect greenhouse gas fluxes? What about methane? Are the emissions measurable, reportable and verifiable? Are emission reductions from peatland rewetting creditable towards Kyoto Protocol commitments? Can they be sold on the voluntary carbon market? How does rewetting influence biodiversity? And, may rewetted peatlands still be used productively?
Belarus ranks 8th among the world's countries in terms of peatland CO2 emissions and occupies 3rd place in CO2-emissions per unit land area. In recent years, tens of thousands of hectares of drained peatlands in Belarus have been rewetted.
Carbon Credits from Peatland Rewetting provides a synthesis of the challenges encountered and solutions adopted in a pilot project conducted in Belarus between 2008 and 2011. It presents data and conclusions from the project and relates basic principles to advanced applications, integrating science and politics, ecology and economy. The experiences and recommendations for peatland restoration set forth in Carbon Credits from Peatland Rewetting will inspire practitioners, land-use planners, scientists and politicians alike.
"Adorned with a foreword by Achim Steiner, United Nations Environment Programme, among others, this volume provides a comprehensive account of how to successfully combine biodiversity conservation with payments for ecosystem services. This volume synthesises experiences, challenges and lessons learnt by the multilateral peatland restoration project in Belarus (coordinated by the RSPB in collaboration with APB-BirdLIFE Belarus and the Michael Succow Foundation, funded by the German government) in applied science integration into policy and practice.
The global context is striking. Peatlands play a crucial role in climate regulation, storing globally twice as much carbon as the total forest biomass. Drained peatlands, however, harbour a ‘time bomb’ for releasing this concentrated carbon store: covering only 0.3% of the world’s land surface they are responsible for a disproportionate 6% of the global anthropocentric CO2 emissions. A problem likely to be exarcerbated by a changing climate. Peatland restoration therefore offers not only a necessary but also cost effective climate mitigation option. This book is highly topical, as rewetting is now formally included as option in the Kyoto protocol and – in comparison, deep peatlands cover nearly 10% of the UK land area, but an estimated 80% have been damaged.
This well edited volume reads like a text book with logical steps synthesising the scientific evidence on the role of peatlands in climate regulation and as important wildlife habitats, the political and economic drivers for restoration with respect to global conventions, voluntary and compliance carbon markets, options for sustainable land use, practical steps in conservation planning and restoration approaches in different settings, the stakeholder engagement process and recommended research and monitoring activities. While easily accessible, there are some excellent in-depth sections, in particular on the Greenhouse gas Emission Site Type (GEST) approach using vegetation as a proxy for assessing GHG emissions from peatlands. The analysis of the institutional process of arriving at successful restoration and piloting carbon credits from rewetting is compelling. While providing a detailed case study, the authors clearly set out the global economic, social and political context for peatland restoration arriving at carbon credits, so that lessons can be applied also in other geo-political settings.
The appealing layout of the book invites the reader to dip in and read parts at a time. Structured in 10 concise chapters, the layout includes informative text boxes, high quality graphics and colour plates illustrating peatland ecosystems and their restoration. With contributions from 44 authors from science, policy, business and conservation practice, this volume is well-rounded and a truly transdisciplinary endeavour. Thanks to thorough editing, this is an enriching read for conservation scientists, practitioners and policy advisers.
The editors are also to be commended to have achieved the enormous task of publishing the volume simultaneously in English and Russian, thereby making it accessible to both a regional as well as international audience.
If there is one challenge to be taken up by further work, it is the application of the approach across temperate peatlands across Europe and the UK - surely something for the international peatland science-policy-practice community to rise to."
- Aletta Bonn, BES Bulletin of the British Ecological Society 2012 43:1
Foreword by the United Nations Environment Programme V
Foreword by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Protection of the Republic of Belarus VII
Foreword by the Michael Otto Foundation IX
1 Introduction 1
2 Peatlands in Belarus 3
3 Peatlands and climate 13
4 Peatlands and biodiversity 61
5 Driving forces and funding options 89
6 Land use options for rewetted peatlands 107
7 The BMU-ICI project 133
8 Practical rewetting examples 169
9 Recommended research and monitoring activities in rewetted peatlands 189
10 Acknowledgements 197
List of contributors 217
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