Peatland Project in Russia Honoured as ‘Lighthouse Activity’ at World Climate Change Conference

The UN Climate Secretariat has selected 19 initiatives out of 460 applications for the ‘Momentum for Change’ Award for climate solutions. ‘Restoring peatlands in Russia’, a joint project with the participation of the Michael Succow Foundation and the University of Greifswald, both partners in the Greifswald Mire Centre, is among the selected initiatives. The project is supported by the German and Russian governments and aims at restoring peatlands. It prevents fires on drained peatlands and reduces the emissions from drained peat soils. Additionally, it avoids the emission of soot particles that cause damage to the health of local residents. 

Why should this project be awarded with the prize? Peatlands cover roughly 8% of Russia’s land area. Several million hectares have been drained for agriculture. As a result, vast areas experience soil degradation and a high risk of peatland fires, and huge amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. In summer 2010, several tens of thousands of people suffered from smog in the Moscow region. 

Restoring peatlands in Russia’, one of the world’s largest rewetting projects, has implemented measures to raise water levels on 35,000 ha of peatlands. The avoided CO2 emissions are estimated at 175,000-220,000 tons per year. The fire risk in the Moscow region has dropped drastically. In addition, new, sustainable ways of using wet peatlands (paludiculture) have been established. Within the project, the University of Greifswald was particularly responsible for the scientific background of assessing greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands.

The UN Climate Secretariat acknowledged that  ‘Restoring Peatlands in Russia’ is one of the most innovative, practical and scalable examples of what people across the globe are doing to combat climate change and can thus be honoured as a ‘Lighthouse Activity’. Prof. Dr. Hans Joosten (University of Greifswald) and Jan Peters (Michael Succow Foundation), together with the project partners, Wetlands International and Institute of Forest Science of the Russian Academy of Sciences, were present at the ‘Momentum for Change’ Award Ceremony of the UN Cimate Convention on the 14th November 2017 in Bonn. The project is funded as part of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety’s (BMU) International Climate Initiative (ICI) through the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).


Further Information:

Press release of the UN climate framework convention
Project on the website of the UN climate framework convention
Project website
Further information on peatlands and climate protection


Contact at the University of Greifswald
Prof. Dr. Hans Joosten/Dr. Franziska Tanneberger
Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology
Soldmannstr. 15
17487 Greifswald
Tel.: +49 3834 420-4177 or -4137

Contact at Michael Succow Foundation:
Jan Peters
Michael Succow Stiftung
Ellernholzstr. 1/3
17489 Greifswald / Germany
Tel:  +49 3834 83542 17