«Clima East: Conservation and sustainable use of peatlands» project is launched in Chernihiv, Ukraine

17 Sep 2013

Through the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) the European Union is currently supporting the East Partnership countries (i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine) and the Russian Federation within the Clima East program (8 pilot projects in 7 countries) so that they are better equipped for greenhouse-gas emission reductions and better prepared to deal with climate change impacts.  

 

The “Conservation and Sustainable Use of Peatlands” project is a part of the 'Clima East’ pilot projects package and is aimed to demonstrate the relevance of nature management techniques for climate mitigation and adaptation.

 

In Ukraine, especially its Northern part, up to 1 mln ha of peatlands were drained since the 1950’s for agricultural purposes that eventually turned peatland-based wetlands from sink to source of carbon. The economic value of drained peatlands has dropped soon after the melioration. As a result, drained peatland-based ecosystems are now sources of greenhouse gas emissions with very low use for local development.

Most of the degraded agricultural peatlands have not been recently used for agriculture while constitute serious threats for local development, including:

1) for human security, as peatland is the most flammable among all types of ecosystems available in Ukraine;

2) for ecosystems, as degraded peatland almost completely loses species diversity of flora and fauna;

3) for the climate, as drained peatlands are sources of GHG emissions;

4) for the economy, as degraded peatlands can not be used for productive agriculture (long lasting utilization has changed the soil properties).

 

Limited experiences are available in Ukraine for peatlands rehabilitation at ecosystem level with respect of climate change mitigation, local communities’ development and biodiversity conservation.

Therefore the objective of the pilot project in Ukraine is to create a model of peatlands restoration to produce cost-efficient positive effect both on climate change mitigation and adaptation, ecosystem’s health and local economy.  

The project will demonstrate how within one landscape certain areas of abandoned degraded agricultural peatlands that emit carbon can be restored, while adjacent areas can be protected at the same time to increase carbon sequestration. The model will also include the local community involvement for resolution of land tenure difficulties and introduction of efficient nature management techniques providing benefits for the local development.

 

Key project tasks include:

ü Development of carbon stock and flux assessment methodology for organic soils;

ü Development of a set of dedicated peatland thematic (GIS-based) dataset layers for the National GHG Inventory System;

ü Restore at least 3,000 ha of drained peatlands through rewetting;

ü Integrate the restored peatlands and adjacent areas (about 16,000 ha) into the existing network of protected areas;

ü Increase the profitability of restored land;

ü Ensure the long-term and sustainable peatlands management practices by local land users.

 

In view of triggering a series of follow-up restoration initiatives, the project will also help strengthen carbon accounting in land use, land use change and forestry sector (LULUCF), integrating it into national GHG inventory and developing a National Green Investment Scheme (NGIS) for peatlands.

Project Donor: European Commission

Responsible party: United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine

National Implementing Partner: State Environmental Investment Agency of Ukraine

National Partners:             State Agency of Water Resources of Ukraine

                                                Chernihiv oblast council

                                                Chenihiv oblast state administration

                                                Local authorities and communities

NGOs