Our projects.

Focus on moorland protection.

Back to more moorland, onward to lower CO2 emissions – this is the path we are taking in many areas of Germany and Europe.

Nationally and internationally active.

With the German Moor Conservation Fund, we make an important contribution to the renaturalisation of moors and thus effectively help to reduce CO2 emissions. Currently, we support 14 projects across Germany, protecting a total moorland area of approximately 640 hectares. And because neither moorland nor global warming stop at national borders, we also help to protect moorland abroad. Through the International Moor Conservation Fund, we focus on Eastern Europe. The first project is located in Slowinski National Park on Poland’s Baltic Sea coast. Through the LIFE Peat Restore project, we help to renaturalise 5,300 hectares of moorland throughout Europe with a focus on the Baltic States.

National projects.

1. Wrodow, 2. Heidkoppelmoor, 3. Ewiges Meer, 4. Badener Moor, 5. Sulinger Moor, 6. Lichtenmoor, 7. Theikenmeer, 8. Biesenthaler Becken, 9. Stobertal, 10. Großes Moor, 11. Moore in der Dresdner Heide, 12. Orchideenwiesen bei Gunzen, 13. Königsdorfer Weidfilz, 14. Aschendorfer Klimamoor

International projects.

Polen: 1. Bagno Kusowo, 2. Słowińskie Błota, 3. Slowinski Park Narodowy

Lettland: 4. Augstroze Nature Reserve, 5. Baltezers Mire Nature Reserve, 6. Lake Engure Nature Park

Litauen: 7. Aukštumala, 8. Puščia, 9. Amalvas, 10. Plinkšiai, 11. Sachara

Estland: 12. Suursoo-Leidissoo

A new benchmark in moorland protection: Theikenmeer.

With its extensive areas of raised bog, the Theikenmeer moorland is one of the oldest nature reserves in Germany. Despite this, active moorland protection only began in 1977. Since the foundation of our collaboration with NABU in 2008, however, we’ve been making progress all the faster.

Through the rewetting of expansive areas of raised bog, we slow down peat decomposition and promote the revitalisation of a unique habitat. Within a short time, our efforts proved so successful that together with NABU, we founded the German Moor Conservation Fund in 2011 and extended our commitment to other areas of moorland all over Germany.

Through the International Moor Conservation Fund established in 2015, we now also fund moorland protection projects all over the world. The special partnership between VWFS and NABU has therefore set new standards in the funding of nature conservation and climate protection projects – after all, in addition to commitment and expertise, this is a key success factor.

Since then, our mutual dedication to moorland protection has won multiple awards and continuously ensures climate and species protection. This also applies to Theikenmeer. Where short-eared owls, red-backed shrikes and nightjars swoop and glide over cotton grass, sundew and marsh orchids once more, the moorland watercourse had already completely disappeared in 1977. In 2010, drainage was finally stopped and rewetting commenced.

Of the 250 hectares that make up the area, 45 have been successfully rewetted. In addition to hydraulic engineering measures and scrub clearing, the exemplary renaturalisation concept includes the acquisition of moorland from private ownership. As a result of these efforts, we have already been able to reduce the CO2 emissions of 2,250 tonnes per year caused by the damaged moor at the start of the project. Our aim: one more intact wetland area in Germany and 435,600 tonnes less CO2 in the atmosphere.

Colossal CO2 savings: Großes Moor.

For nearly 6,000 years, the Großes Moor moorland flourished on an area spanning approximately 5,800 hectares. In some places, the peat layer of the raised bog reached a height of six metres. Then came industrialisation, increased demand for energy and food, industrial peat harvesting and intensive agriculture.

Like many other moors, the past 200 years have witnessed the destruction of large parts of Großes Moor – but fortunately not all of it. A heavily damaged area of 2,700 hectares survived and has been protected as a conservation area since 1984.

Since then, the moorland has been undergoing intensive renaturalisation. We have been supporting the valuable work of NABU on site since 2011. This includes the expansive and continuous removal of scrub and tree growth and the division of the area into sites to enable the gradual rewetting of the bog. The pond-like renaturalisation basins collect rainwater and thus enable the cultivation of peat-forming indigenous moss species. At the same time, more and more original moorland inhabitants and guests are returning, such as cranes, nightjars, snipes, moor frogs and sundew – all of which can be observed from a nature and adventure trail complete with moorland train.

The renaturalisation measures prevent huge amounts of harmful greenhouse gas emissions both now and in the future. From the late 1980s until 2011, drainage of the 106 hectares in the project area alone led to a height loss of over 22 centimetres and 67,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. During this time, some 1,900 tonnes of climate-damaging gases were still being released into the atmosphere from the project areas every year. By rewetting the moorland, the carbon remains locked up inside. Overall, our support has prevented at least 312,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Five hundred hectares of hope: Lichtenmoor.

One hundred years of large-scale peat cutting and intensive farming mean the escape of some 180,000 tonnes of CO2 over the next 200 years. This can only be prevented through consistent renaturalisation. And this is our mission.

Bog rosemary, cranberry, the cranberry blue butterfly and a hefty amount of carbon dioxide – the Lichtenmoor moorland near Nienburg/Weser in Lower Saxony is home to all of this and much more. This is the way it should stay – and flourish. We are committed to making this happen.

Located north of Lake Steinhude, the Lichtenmoor lowland heath originally covered more than 2,200 hectares. What remains of it today spans approximately 500 hectares, some of which continue to be harvested for peat or used for farming today.

Through our German Moor Conservation Fund, we have supported the on-site efforts of NABU and its partners to renaturalise Lichtenmoor since 2011. We were already able to celebrate our first major success in 2013 with the rewetting of the moorland in the Weißer Graben nature reserve.

Together with NABU, we initiated the renaturalisation of Lichtenmoor on an area covering 130 hectares. Even though the area had been largely spared from peat harvesting, the existing drainage systems had caused the raised bog area to ‘bleed out’.

Without rewetting, the release of around 180,000 tonnes of climate-damaging CO2 is inevitable over the next 200 years. Our renaturalisation measures are the first step to stop the destruction of the natural carbon sink and rare habitat.

The priority concerns involve closing the drainage grips and externally sealing the moor area to keep the water inside. The action area has now been extended to approximately 450 hectares. The objectives are the continued renaturalisation and CO2 savings of 6,800 tonnes per year.