Although we strive to minimise our travel, our work at FOS Europe sometimes requires travelling both near and far. Since 2019, we compensate for all the emissions caused by our travel by air and long-distance train by contributing to the restoration of peatland in different areas in Germany. In 2019, we offset 128 tonnes of CO2. In 2020, due to much less travel because of Covid-19, the amount was 10 tonnes.
Königsmoor, a 1200 hectare peatland in Christiansholm, Germany, was heavily drained and used as grassland during the 20th century. In 2013, the Ausgleichsagentur Schleswig-Holstein restored 68 hectares of the peatland, closing all ditches and drainages in the area. It also constructed shallow mounds of peat, in order to retain and store excess winter precipitation and thus avoid summer droughts.
After the restoration measures in Königsmoor were completed, the project was certified according to the MoorFutures® standard and could start selling the carbon offset certificates in 2014. By only issuing carbon offset certificates after the peatland has been rewetted, the MoorFutures® standard ensures that the restoration project really stores the amounts of carbon it claims to. The financing collected through selling certificates is used for regular monitoring efforts, for additional measures whenever monitoring shows they are needed, and for setting up rewetting of new areas – a prime example of adaptive management and scaling up.
As the peatland recovers, marsh vegetation with reeds, sedges, and rushes will develop on the wetted areas, and in some areas, willow bushes will eventually grow. In the long term, the hopes are that the Königsmoor, fed only by rainwater, will again develop typical raised bog vegetation.
Functioning peatlands are very effective carbon sinks, storing 7–10 times more carbon than other ecosystems. As long as they remain wet, their vegetation captures carbon and stores it in the peat. But when peatlands are drained, they decompose and instead release carbon. In addition to being a cost-effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and storing carbon, rewetting peatland also regulates local climate and water resources, creates valuable habitats and thereby contributes to biodiversity, retains nutrients, and provides opportunities for recreation.
More information in Joosten et al. (2015). MoorFutures®: Integration of additional ecosystem services (including biodiversity) into carbon credits – standard, methodology and transferability to other regions (PDF 3.5 MB)
Photo credit: Stiftung Naturschutz Schleswig-Holstein