Developing a practical vision for restoring Belarus’ peatlands

Project Context and Aim

Europe’s peatland landscapes provide important habitats for many species as well as multiple ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration – yet they are among the region’s most threatened habitats. Only one-third of Belarus’s 2,600,000 ha of peatlands remains in a natural or nearly natural state, the rest drained for agricultural use, forestry or peat extraction.

This project is applying technical expertise to identify sites most suitable for restoration. Assessments have revealed that a total of over 280,000 ha of disturbed peatlands have been withdrawn from further economic use, and so have potential for rewetting. The potential benefits of this for climate change mitigation are significant. For example, restoring a 2,000-ha peatland site would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2050 – equivalent to annual emissions from 7,500 cars. Moreover, wetland bird communities will be re-established, beaver and moose returned, and 50 new jobs created for every 2,000-ha restoration site.

Project Partners

APB
Ministry of Environment (Belarus)
Ministry of Forestry (Belarus)
Michael Succow Foundation (MSF)
Institute of Experimental Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus

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