Dubbed the ‘rainforests of Europe’ as they are so diverse in wildlife, peat bogs contain more than 20 per cent of the world’s carbon. However, western Europe has lost most of its natural peat bogs, largely due to peat extraction for horticulture.
Over the last three years, Earthwatch scientists have conducted the first botanical survey of Yelyna, the largest raised peat bog in Europe and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, which stretches over 26,175 hectares. In 2002 a series of fires decimated 85 per cent of the bog, resulting in considerable economic loss for local people who rely on the harvesting of swamp cranberries.
This research led to the discovery of 17 new locations of eight rare and endangered plants at Yelyna. In response, the Belarus Ministry of Natural Resources announced the creation of a national peat bog monitoring programme that will ensure plant hotspots at Yelyna are protected.
Two bogs, Velikiiji Moh and Fomino (equating to 5,016 hectares), have also been designated as protected nature sanctuaries as a direct result of the research. Between them, these bogs will absorb and store approximately 1,354.32 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year – equivalent to the combined emissions of almost 300 London households.*
“It is estimated that globally, peat bogs store twice as much carbon as forests,” explains Nat Spring, Head of Research at Earthwatch (Europe). “Even if most people don’t know that the bogs of Belarus exist, protecting them is of vital importance if we are to combat climate change.”
The bogs of Belarus provide an important refuge for migratory birds as they travel between western Europe and northern Russia, including the most threatened species of bird in Europe, the aquatic warbler.
The long-term goal of this research project is to inform the effective conservation of all of the raised bogs of Belarus. Since 2004, 90 Earthwatch volunteers have donated their time to help survey these peat lands. They include members of the public, corporate employees and Eastern European scientists and educators funded through Earthwatch’s capacity building programme.
*According to figures from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, pristine bogs accumulate CO2 at a rate of 0.27 tonnes per hectare per year. Research published in November 2007 by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) combines car emissions with government figures on household CO2 levels. Households in the city of London emit 4.6 tonnes of carbon per year.
Zoe Gamble | alfa
Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences