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Local Austrian initiative to protect global warming and biodiversity through peat moor maintaining

Background

In Austria, the Doblermoos peat covers 10.000 ha since 8.000 years. Peat is a compact brownish deposit of partially decomposed vegetable matter saturated with water, to be found in uplands and bogs in temperate and cold regions. Peat moor, an extensive tract of land where peat has formed, is considered as a key environmental resource that must be protected: it sequestrates carbon more than many other soils do, thus prevent greenhouse gases from being released to the atmosphere. Besides, peat moor soils support a rich mix of biodiversity species. Unfortunately, being seen as an opportunity to be transformed in horticultural or heating products, peat moor is threatened by commercial pressure.

The project

The local community responded to this issue with a proposal for an EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) project. As peat land habitat need to be provided with wet conditions to maintain their quality (that is to stay to store carbon and to support its range of biodiversity), peat land restoration measure focuses on maintaining optimal water levels. The long term goal of the Austrian local community also was to establish an eco-tourism, which the project contributed to, by funding access to the moor and to information facilities.

Results

Eventually, the project succeeded in ensuring the moor’s vital carbon sequestration capacity and in maintaining a satisfying range of habitats for native species: for instance, 80 species of breeding and migratory birds were recorded. In addition, jobs related to nature conservation have been created on the site, which is often visited by schools, students and tourists.

This is a summary of a Good practice published by the European Network for Rural Development (project examples 2007-2013).

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15 September 2014

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