Key Topics

Greenhouse gas emissions and other climate effects

Measurements of greenhouse gas fluxes in mown peatlands have started very recently. There are still gaps of such measurements in certain peatland and vegetation types, and in particular under mowing or grazing. This session will reflect state of the art knowledge on greenhouse gas fluxes in wet and rewetted peatlands, present outcomes of current measurements in mown wet peatlands, and discuss hypotheses on greenhouse gas fluxes under various forms of paludiculture (e.g. reeds, reed beds, sphagnum lawns) and different conditions (e.g. date of harvest, water tables, trophic conditions).

Biodiversity

Mires harbour specialised flora and fauna. In drained peatlands, biodiversity is substantially reduced and much of the former mire flora and fauna has disappeared. In rewetted peatlands, such species may appear again, often after more or less long lasting transitional periods. Pilot projects as well as traditional wet land use provide evidence that paludiculture can favour certain mire flora and fauna. There is, however, also evidence that certain species suffer e.g. from machine mowing in near-natural peatlands. In this session, we will illuminate biodiversity effects of paludiculture and bring together biodiversity data from recent paludiculture projects.

Nutrient cycling, retention and removal

Wet and rewetted peatlands have regulating influence on nutrient dynamics in ground and surface waters, both as sinks and sources. Besides carbon and biodiversity aspects, nutrient cycling can be a major driver for restoring degraded peatlands. Data on nutrient input and output of wetland systems, but also the processes behind nutrient dynamics will be presented in this session. Presentations should focus e.g. on filter potentials of paludicultures, redox-dependent mechanisms for solute adsorption and retention (P) as well as on conversion of substances by nitrification/denitrification (N) and uptake by biomass (paludiculture).

Water retention and flood control

The potentially positive effects of peatland restoration on water retention, flood control and not the least for reducing water management costs is increasingly considered. With paludiculture, agricultural use may be continued despite of high or fluctuating water levels. The role of vegetation (inundation tolerance, nutrient supply, evapotranspiration, harvesting, …..) and specifically the potential of various paludiculture plants for water retention and flood control will be considered in this session.

Species: productivity, genetics, physiology

The productive use of wetland plants in paludiculture is still in its infancy, but develops globally at a spanking pace. There is much potential in plants that are currently not catalogued as economic plants. Understanding their physiology and genetic variation will help to support their cultivation. Selection and propagation of suitable ecotypes can improve productivity and the desired biomass characteristics. In this session, we want to bring together research results on different wetland plant species, e.g. Phragmites australis and Sphagnum spp., and to discuss solutions for tackling challenges in implementing paludiculture by smart species selection.

Biomass to product

Manufacturing products from wetland biomass requires specially adapted procedures ranging from plant cultivation, harvest, biomass transport and storage to biomass processing and use. This session will cover these topics from an application-technological point of view. Contributions can cover all steps from cultivation to the use of the product as well as studies assessing single steps, quality demands for biomass or properties of products. Presentations may also focus on harvesting or processing technologies and concepts. This session specifically addresses a broad audience of scientists and practitioners alike.

Economics & life cycle assessment

Costs and bene?ts are the key factors for the implementation of biomass use from wet and rewetted peatlands. The prevailing economic framework has a decisive influence on the economic viability at company level. This session will cover micro-economic as well as macro-economic topics of paludiculture. Micro-economic contributions can include studies on site management, harvest, biomass processing and use. Macro-economic studies may evaluate costs and benefits of peatland use concerning the provision of ecosystem services or disservices. This session covers also life cycle assessments, and studies considering, comparing and quantifying environmental impacts (i.e. greenhouse gas emissions, energy, nutrients and other flows) of peatland use are welcomed.

Legal and policy framework: incentives & constraints

The implementation of paludiculture may be fostered or hampered by the policy framework and legal regulations. The eligibility for agricultural subsidies, e.g. provided by the EU Common Agricultural Policy, plays a fundamental role for implementing paludicultures in the EU. Incentives for rewetting and/or for establishing adapted wetland plants may improve the willingness to introduce paludicultures on formerly drained peatlands. Payments for the provision of ecosystem services such as carbon storage, nutrient removal or water retention can support the profitability and competiveness of paludiculture. We encourage presentations on the following aspects: analyses on incentives and constrains in different countries; How can the legal and policy framework account for the provision of peatland ecosystem services and disservices? What are the pre-requisites for ensuring the acceptance of incentives in policy and practice? Which (national) solutions may serve as best practise examples to overcome constraints and to support paludiculture or the utilisation of wetland biomass?

Case studies

Pilot projects and best practise examples play a vital role for implementing paludiculture at large scale. Pioneers adapt traditional uses, gain first experience with new cultivars or new processing avenues, and develop skills in establishing, managing, harvesting and using wetland plants. Such demonstration projects are invaluable for gathering hands-on knowledge. At the same time, working beyond experimental scale is essential for researchers to get real-life data on economics and side effects, for deriving sound recommendations and for vividly communicating paludiculture to farmers and politicians. We look forward to a wide range of case studies from various countries.