• Germany's news in English

German wetlands 'nearly all gone'

The Local · 2 Feb 2013, 11:37

Published: 02 Feb 2013 11:37 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Part of the problem, environmental experts told the paper, stems from marsh destruction for the gardening industry. For years the rich top soil has been cultivated and sold to home gardeners and others.

But a bigger problem, according to experts from Aktion Moorschutz an environmental group, is the agricultural industry. Some 95 percent of Germany’s marshes are considered destroyed, and much of this is due to agricultural practices, which involve drying out the areas and using them for fields.

This not only destroys valuable habitat for native birds and other animals but has a devastating effect on climate change.

Marshes contain twice as much carbon dioxide as other forests in the world, according to the environmental organization Nabu. When they are destroyed, they release a large amount of carbon dioxide and other environmentally harmful greenhouse gases.

In the 1970s Germany signed off on an International Wetlands Convention, agreeing, among other things, to protect its marsh lands.

In 1997, February 2nd was proclaimed the day to remember wetlands protection and the signing of treaty, which is now more than 40 years old.

Despite all this environmental experts have not seen big progress when it comes to protecting marshes.

“At the moment we have a bit of momentum, but the efforts over the last years are insufficient,” Nabu marsh expert Felix Grützmacher told the paper.

The World Wildlife Fund is also urging Germany’s federal and state governments to do more – especially when you consider the costs.

“Restoring a marsh is very cost intensive,” said nature conservation director Diana Pretzell.

Story continues below…

In an effort to raise money, climate certificates are now being offered in Bremen and northwestern Lower Saxony. For €20 people can buy a symbolic piece of the marsh, which will store over a period of 20 years one ton of greenhouse gases.

There are 2,675 certificates available for purchase beginning this spring. If they are all sold some 230,000 square meters in the Dorümer Marsh near Bremerhaven will be replenished.

In the fall of 2011 Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania started offering the certificates and they were made available in Brandenburg last year.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

19:35 February 2, 2013 by DOZ
The rest of the West should take notice.
19:18 February 3, 2013 by Brint
If asked I would have put Germany on top of the list of European countries which would be exercising extremely strict control over the protection of its natural environment, yet surprisingly on reading that, it would appear that the UK does a much better job of preserving and maintaining our wetlands.
Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd