Removing barriers to peatland climate protection
New information paper on conversion to paludiculture
30/6/2021 Paludiculture with wetland species such as reeds, cattail and peat mosses is a good way to continue to use peatlands productively after water levels have been raised for peatland climate protection. In order to establish such permanent crops on previous grassland, the regulations on grassland conservation must be observed. Any conversion of permanent grassland into paludiculture must be approved. In addition, there is an obligation to establish new grassland (on arable land) as replacement. This obligation to quantative grassland maintenance is an obstacle to the implementation of paludiculture and should be reconsidered for peat soils.
In the MoKli project, there was an expert discussion with representatives of authorities of the federal states rich in peatlands. They discussed background to grassland protection, differences between mineral and peat soils, the application of existing exemption regulations and possible new special regulations to reduce the obstacle. The new information paper Guidelines for grassland conservation when converting to paludiculture (German only) summarises the legal framework and the main points of discussion.
A current opportunity to improve framework conditions for conversion of drainage-based peatland use to paludiculture is offered by the legal framework for the new funding period of the Common Agricultural Policy from 2023 onwards. While no special provision for paludiculture has been included in the Conditionalities Act in Germany, which regulates minimum standards such as permanent grassland maintenance, the more detailed legal regulation accompanying the Act could allow for the waiver of establishing replacement areas. A major obstacle to paludiculture and voluntary peatland climate protection would thus be removed.