One of Eurosite’s primary missions is to share ideas and good practices on subjects essential to renature Europe. That’s precisely why we engage in conservation projects with our members and friends.
The LIFE ENPLC Project
The LIFE ENPLC project brings together landowners and conservationists to protect and restore private land for nature and the climate across Europe.
Our project’s vital part is strengthening trust and cooperation between all stakeholders. To this end, Eurosite and ELO have established the Conservation Landowners Coalition (CLC) as a European partnership of landowners and conservationists.
We build a community of European land conservation practitioners who work together on testing and upscaling the most promising tools for private land conservation, advocating for better financial incentives, engaging citizens, and raising public awareness.
Climate breakdown and biodiversity loss constitute existential threats to land in private ownership. To preserve the land’s health and value for the next generations, we strive to support private landowners in finding the right tools, incentives, information, and contacts for the long-term conservation and restoration of nature on their properties.
We communicate best-practice approaches to private land conservation, including the involvement of volunteers and citizen scientists. We raise public awareness of the relevance of private land for reaching the EU’s biodiversity policy targets and showcase successful initiatives in peer-to-peer networks by creating a community of Private Land Conservation Ambassadors. They tell their stories to fellow private landowners and decision-makers.
The project is supported by the EU’s environmental funding programme LIFE.
Taking care of peatlands
Care-Peat is an Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) project with 12 partners working together to reduce carbon emissions and restore the carbon storage capacity of different types of peatlands in North-West Europe. The primary partnership comprises seven knowledge institutes and five nature organisations from Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Together with seven sub-partners and 41 associated partners, we develop and test new techniques and socio-economic strategies for carbon reduction.
Peatlands tackling climate change
Why focus on peatlands? Peatlands are not only habitats with highly specialised flora and fauna, but they also play an essential role in global climate regulation. Northern hemisphere peatlands account for 3 to 5% of total land area and contain approximately 33% of global soil carbon. Therefore peatlands have a solid natural potential to save carbon and play an essential role in nature-based solutions for climate change.
When peatlands are drained, the well-preserved carbon is released as greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That is why it is crucial to keep peatlands wet. Unfortunately, many peatlands are degraded and emit rather than store carbon. The global annual greenhouse gas emissions from drained organic soils are twice that from aviation. We must act now to prevent further degradation and encourage more recovery of our remaining peatlands.
What does Care-Peat do?
The main goal of Care-Peat is to set up and demonstrate innovative technologies for new restoration and carbon measurement techniques and involve local and regional stakeholders.
Therefore the nature organisations, together with local landowners, restore peatlands of seven different pilot sites ranging from 1 to 250 hectares and demonstrate the (potential) carbon savings of the restoration. Different restoration techniques are used for each pilot site – from manual management to growing additional peat moss. Throughout the project, the organisations are supported by the knowledge institutes that work together to develop and test new equipment, methods and models to predict carbon flows (e.g. by using drones and satellites to guide restoration and provide input for carbon models). Care-Peat also works with innovative companies in the restoration field and develops partnerships with local and regional stakeholders to increase the impact of pilots and maximise socio-economic benefits.
Important outputs of Care-Peat are publishing a management and decision support tool and a set of socio-economic models concerning the best options for peatland restoration regarding carbon storage. This way, the project results are transferred and replicated to users across North-West Europe to determine the most appropriate management measures, even after Care-Peat has ended.
In 2021, as part of the Interreg NWE Programme, the Care-Peat project was allowed to strengthen its scope with a so-called ‘capitalisation project’. The aim is to apply the project results to new areas and a new target group in North-West Europe. The approval resulted in fewer than three new partners and six new associated partners who have joined our consortium.
In the capitalisation project, we develop a unified methodology for assessing GHG emissions from peatlands that are widely applicable in North-West Europe (different peatland types and regions) and thus increase the impact of the decision support tool. Also, we will include farmers and farmer organisations as a new primary target group by engaging with them directly and incorporating best practices for carbon savings on farmland.
How much carbon can be saved?
Care-Peat is ambitious. By the end of the project in 2023, we expect that about 8137 tonnes of carbon emissions per year are prevented from losses and stored in the seven pilot sites (in total, approximately 645 hectares).
After 2023 we hope that nature conservation and other organisations all over the North-West Europe region will take further measures, resulting in the restoration of many more peatlands. And the more peatlands are restored, the more carbon is saved. This way, peatlands can become an essential natural partner in climate policies across North-West Europe.