Restoring peatlands in Russia
Many peatlands in Russia were drained for agriculture, forestry and peat mining in the past and then left abandoned. Now they are subject to wind and water erosion, major fires and cause large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. Given the significant economic, environmental and social impacts of these degraded peatlands, Wetlands International has recently initiated the restoration project of Russia's degraded peatlands.
Over five million hectares of peatlands have been drained in the European part of Russia. The first priority is to restore the peatlands in the Moscow region as this province holds a considerable proportion of abandoned peatlands in Russia. This challenging task will be implemented in cooperation with the Russian government, several project partners and is financially supported by Germany.
The drained peatlands in Moscow came into the news in August 2010 as they were the scene of major fires, causing dramatic air pollution leading to significant health and economic impacts and causing high greenhouse gas emissions. This event (and similar events in many previous years and other areas) have now led to a decision to undertake a large-scale restoration of unused peatlands in Russia. Although initially the work will take place in the Moscow region, the intent is to upscale the work to other provinces in the later stages.
Our aims and activities
The aim is to establish the long-term capacity and decision making framework for hydrological restoration of unused peatlands and to enhance the capacity for preventing peat fires. In addition, we will develop a monitoring system for greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity. The team will also provide recommendations for policy and legislative reforms required for sustainable management of peatlands at different levels and to train Russian institutions as well as organise seminars and international exchanges. For the future management of Russia's peatlands, we will explore innovative approaches such as paludiculture (wet agriculture) as well as new options to finance better management including trading of carbon credits.
The restoration work in Russia is financed by the German Ministry of Environment, BMU) under the framework of the International Climate Initiative (ICI) and through the German Development Bank (KFW).
Wetlands International coordinates the overall work and cooperates with the following partners: