Project title: WETSCAPES - Turnover processes at peatlands sites as a basis for land usage, climate impact and water protection
Short version: With 13% coverage area, peatlands are characteristic elements of landscapes and, thus, of land usage in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Depending on water and land management, they contribute to climate and water protection much more than other ecosystems. The aim of WETSCAPES is to develop the scientific principles for sustainable and gentle cultivation of degraded and then rewetted sites. WETSCAPES provides the basis for a nationwide, internationally influential research and development structure within the thematic complex primary production, metabolic processes, matter transport, gas exchange and peat formation at fens and wetland sites. It builds on existing structures at the universities of Greifswald and Rostock and integrates them over universities and institutes (DLR, LIKAT) with the goal to recognize ecosystem interactions (upscaling) and to derive indicators for sustainable management. WETSCAPES benefits from current major research projects (e.g. DFG Research Training Group Baltic TRANSCOAST in Rostock and RESPONSE in Greifswald) by existing networking and qualification structures, in which qualification of PhD students and PostDocs is embedded. It integrates research by joint working at six central investigation sites and one complex central experiment on a worldwide unique moor lysimeter. Project planning includes further research applications for structure building major projects (DFG Collaborative Research Centres Transregio), so that continuity of research and a top international level is ensured in the long-term. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will benefit by the development of scientific based, sustainable and innovative utilization, by value chains in agricultural production and touristic use of fragile peatlands and coastal sites, which will be optimized or newly rebuild considering the aims of environmental protection and nature conservation.