German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Peatland conservation

Until the 17th century, bogs and fens were hostile to and inaccessible to humans and remained largely untouched wilderness. In the course of industrialisation, peatlands were increasingly drained for agriculture or forestry. The peatland habitats left over today are endangered and with them many of their characteristic, highly specialised animal and plant species.

Peatlands: Formation, conservation status and biodiversity

Ecologically functional, near-natural peatlands provide a wide range of ecological services. Besides their special importance to biodiversity, they aid seasonal water retention, regulate the nutrient balance, mediate the regional climate, provide recreational opportunities for people, and play an important part as carbon sinks and reservoirs in mitigating climate change. In connection with current climate policy objectives they are also of economic importance. Drainage and exploitation of peatlands mean that many of these environmental services are lost to a large degree. Ecosystem services can be restored at least partially by rewetting peatlands. In this way, nature conservation projects can contribute in climate change mitigation.

Ecosystem services of peatland

Since the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992 and against the backdrop of climate change, the conservation and management of peatlands have become increasingly important and a major policy issue internationally in recent years.

Peatland conservation: Situation and need for action


For further information please contact:

Dr. Karin Ullrich
Dr. Peter Finck

FG II 2.1

Last Change: 18/02/2021