The Source, our Annual Review 2019

STORY HIGHLIGHTS The rewetting of the Orshinsky Mokh peatland, Russia, means it is no longer a fire hazard. Katingan, Indonesia, one of the world’s largest peat-swamp forests with rich biodiversity, has become a showcase as the Indonesian government plans to restore 2.4 million hectares of damaged peatlands by the end of 2020. We worked with UN Food and Agriculture Organization on strategies for ‘wet agriculture’ on peat that minimises damage from drainage.


By Fred Pearce

The Orshinsky Mokh peatland is wet again. In 2019, after five years of effort, water levels have risen by a metre across an area of 65 square kilometres. It has been a triumph of ecological restoration. Like many other peatlands in the region around Moscow that had been partially drained for peat extraction, the bog had become a major fire hazard after extractors abandoned large areas in the early 1990s. “They used to have fires here all the time,” said Professor Vladimir Panov of the Tver State Technical University, who devised the rehabilitation of Orshinsky Mokh. “It was dry here till a year ago,” he said as we watched bulldozers move peat to block another drainage canal. “Now you can see the soil is getting waterlogged again. The reeds are new; sphagnum is spreading too.”

The wet Orshinsky Mokh near Moscow, Russia



Wetlands Annual Review 2019

Wetlands Annual Review 2019

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