15.11.2019 change 15.11.2019
Ludwika Tomala
Ludwika Tomala

European peatlands have been drying out for 300 years

Credit: Adobe Stock Credit: Adobe Stock

Peatlands, which provide natural water reservoirs and carbon storage facilities, are dying out, say scientists.

The international team of researchers looked at 30 peatlands (wetlands) dating back 2,000 years across Europe and found that most have been slowly dying for the last 300 years.

Professor Mariusz Lamentowicz from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, one of the report’s authors, said that the wetlands they studied in Poland, Scandinavia and the UK ”unfortunately show a drying tendency.”

He added: "In Poland, we are experiencing a growing hydrological stress. The level of water in soils is dropping, we are dealing with droughts, and in some areas people do not have water in taps. Meanwhile, wetlands that retain water are our allies in the fight against drought,"

"I am concerned that despite the drought, wetlands and meadows are still being drained, drainage ditches are deepened and cleaned, and rivers that supply peatlands are regulated.”

"To some extent, the falling water level in peatlands reflects economic development. But it will end.

“Ultimately, as a society, we will feel hydrological stress associated with the drop of groundwater level.

“Our article shows a forecast that the water level in peatlands will probably continue to decrease.

“We have to think how to manage wetlands well so that they continue to be important water resources and carbon storage.

And that they are our allies in climate protection.”

PAP - Science in Poland, Ludwika Tomala

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