09. August 2023

Why are bogs important for climate protection?

Environmental protection in peatlands and bogs

The landscape of the Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park is characterized by huge forests, steep hills, small streams and ponds, rocks and swamps. A perfect home for many rare animal and plant species, but also a great area for hiking. The national park was founded in 2015 and is home not only to wolves, moufflons and the rare wildcats, but also to the hillside bogs of the Hunsrück. Since 2016, international volunteers have been supporting the rangers in the national park with us in rewetting the bogs. But why do they have to be watered again at all?

How a bog works

In a natural hillside bog, rainwater seeps slowly and continuously down the hillside until it reaches the peat layers that have formed over the past 4000 years. Peat stores water, so the soil here remains permanently wet. Not very practical, of course, for creating paths and roads. Or to plant trees that cover an increasing demand for wood. Traditionally, dried peat was also often used as heating material.

Gradually, more and more drainage ditches were dug in the last century and more and more bogs were drained. The hillside bogs of the national park were also drained with ditches in the last century in order to use them as forests. While originally 5% of Germany was covered by bogs, it is now only 0.1%.

Peatlands and bogs are an important and valuable natural CO2 store.

When the peat dries, it releases nutrients and the CO2 it has stored. Bogs currently bind almost twice as much CO2 as all forest areas worldwide. In addition to the emission of CO2, the special habitat for rare animal and plant species is also disappearing as a result of drained bogs. What can you do about it? Exactly, bring the water back to the bogs.

In the Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park, work is therefore being done as part of the EU LIFE+ project to close the drainage systems, rebuild paths and thus gradually restore the hillside bogs to their original state. The first successes of the nature conservation work of the past few years are already visible: many different species (especially amphibians and rare plants) have already returned.

Would you like to work with us to protect forests and bogs?

Under the motto "Let's take action for climate protection", in 2022 we will be dealing with the topic of climate protection in forests and bogs both in our camps and in our full-time team and with our voluntary group leaders and team leaders. Will you join us?