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Abstract

In the current debate on climate protection, agricultural production has become a focal point of interest. This study introduces the climate effectiveness of agricultural management of peat-soils. Agriculture on peatland demands a water-level drawdown that causes aerobe degradation of the soils. The resulting trace-gas emissions have a negative impact on the greenhouse-gas balance. In Germany more than 80% of peatland is used agriculturally; the resulting emissions account for 2.3 – 4.5% of Germany’s overall emission. Climate-friendly peatland management strategies, however, demand enhanced groundwater tables and decreased land-use intensity. With regard to agricultural income, severe economic consequences are to be expected. Against this background we analyse opportunities to reorganise agricultural use of peatland. As it is assumed that the potential to reduce land-use intensity greatly depends on local socio-economic conditions which are likely to vary across different regions, six representative sample regions are surveyed. To analyse microeconomic effects with simultaneous consideration of local diversity, stakeholder workshops and extensive farm surveys were undertaken in all regions. First results indicate that a reorganisation of peatland use causes severe loss of agricultural income and necessitates financial compensation for farmers. However the results also show that the potential of rearrangement varies significantly according to regional conditions.

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