Marshes fall under investigation

German ecologists and their Belarusian colleagues to jointly record greenhouse gas emissions

Our two countries are currently involved in developing shared methods of record keeping, aiming to use the information to restore affected marshlands. “Belarusian peatlands are suitable for German experts to apply their experience in recording greenhouse gas emissions,” notes the Head of the Belarusian Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry’s International Co-operation Department, Irina Rudko. Belarus retains the greatest number of lowland and upland bogs in Europe. Accordingly, German ecologists are joining forces with their Belarusian colleagues to test various methods on each type of bog. The project is being supported by the Dortmund International Centre for Education (IBB Dortmund). Previously, Belarusian scientists had begun to systematically measure greenhouse gas emissions on the marshes at Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve, the Republican Sporovsky Reserve and Bartenikha Peatland. Ecologists aim to monitor the fall of greenhouse emissions on such waterlogged territories; it is Belarus’ direct contribution to solving the climatic problem.

Marshes accumulate carbon and, when drained to extract peat or be used in agriculture, this is released into the atmosphere, considerably intensifying the greenhouse effect. Such emissions can be reduced via repeated water logging; a major project has been implemented in Belarus over recent years (supported by the UNDP and the Global Environmental Facility) to restore depleted peatlands, which are of primary interest to scientists.

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