Alpine Peatlands and Climate Action
Developing mechanisms and methods to protect peatlands in the Alps.
Austria, Germany, Switzerland
04/21 - 10/22
Peatlands are important for biodiversity conservation, climate action and water supply. As in other regions, those functions of Alpine peatlands are under strain due to increasing building activities, change and intensification of land use and climate change. In order to exploit the climate action potential of Alpine peatlands, it is important for Alpine countries to work together towards their protection. However, incoherent data collection and insufficient exchange between Alpine countries have so far hindered concerted action.
The project team aims at finding methods to close the identified data gaps and deficits in networking and knowledge exchange through four modules. The first one is dedicated to the development and testing of methods to fill the gaps in spatial data (such as extent and type of peatlands, vegetation, land use) and status data (such as water balance and degradation). The collected and generated (geo)data serves as the basis for assessing the climate effectiveness of peatlands. The second module investigates the possibilities of land use and management for peatland protection. To do so, the project team conducts a case study of mountain pasture grazing in Alpine peatlands, surveying how type and intensity of grazing systems affect the ecosystem. The third module establishes a network of peatland actors – scientists, NGOs, nature conservation agencies and other practitioners working with peatlands – in the Alpine region, constituting the basis for continuous knowledge exchange and thus facilitating the implementation of future climate action measures. The fourth module develops and subsequently tests a methodology that allows to estimate the climate protection potential of peatlands in the Alps. With its focus on data and methodology, the project team contributes to the scientific utilisation of peatlands for climate action in the Alps.