Restoring Peatlands in Russia - for fire prevention and climate change mitigation
As of: May 2021
Peatlands are natural reservoirs that bind carbon. If they are drained or burned, climate-damaging greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. Russia has very extensive peatlands, some of which have already been drained and used for agriculture and peat extraction. The project reduces greenhouse gas emissions caused by peat fires and the drainage of peat bogs, increasing the biodiversity of these areas. In achieving this goal, a minimum of 59,000 hectares of degraded bogs will be restored and sustainably managed, and plans for the rewetting of an additional 45,000 ha are being drawn up. The project partners are setting up a system to monitor greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity and to expand scientific and technical rewetting competence in Russian partner organisations. The project also makes recommendations for revising policies and laws aimed at achieving sustainable peatland management.
State of implementation/results
- The project categorizes peatlands around Moscow and carries out capacity building in peatland restoration and rewetting.
- In 2019, the estimated greenhouse gas reduction by restoring the hydrological equilibrium on peatland sites was approximately 486,000 t CO2eq per year, without taking into account the reduction of fire risk. If one were to include the reduction of fire risk, one would come to a total emission saving of approximately 636,600 t CO2eq per year.
- 15,524 hectares of degraded peatlands were rewetted.
- Within 6,420 hectares, new financing mechanisms were tested.
- Within 94,921 hectares, the fire hazard status was reduced from high to medium/low.
- Two pilot paludiculture sites were established demonstrating sustainable practices (one in the Oblast Twer and one at the Trimirjasw Agricultural Academy in Moscow).
- Decision-makers are trained in sustainable peatland management and restoration, gaps and weaknesses in legislation are identified and proposed changes discussed with the Ministry of the Environment.
- The project was selected by an expert panel as one of the lighthouse projects for the "2017 Momentum for Change", and was awarded the 'Momentum for Change' Climate Solutions award by the UN at COP 23 in Bonn.
- The International New York Times reported on the project in an article on climate change (see online edition of 21.09.2018 and print edition of 24.09.2018).