Förderverein Großes Moor e.V.

A model for success

Peat was completely extracted for the very first time not far from the former Arnoldshof (Fig. 2). In other words it was cut until there was only natural soil left. That is actually a breach of a taboo. 

A minor revolution for the purist doctrine of moorland conservation. Until then, the theory was that “peat belongs in the moor.” But because of the special geographical location of our moor, this had to be adapted to “cut away all the peat to allow peat moss to grow.” Figure 3 shows the state as it was at the beginning, and in Figure 4 you can see the positive development after a year.

The solution for the Great Moor neat Gifhorn was and is:

  • Continue to cut all the peat, even beyond the year 2014,
  • Until the ground water level has almost been reached to ensure there is always moisture,
  • Create small pools so that the moss is not disturbed by the wash of the waves,
  • Low connecting paths to allow later flooding and felling of the birch trees
  • Gaps in the connecting paths to allow the water level to equalise

These pools have enabled peat moss (Figs. 6 and 8), cotton grass (Fig. 7), sundew (Fig. 9) and other moorland specialities to gain a foothold. Figure 5 shows a fully overgrown pool.

Piece by piece, this success model is being implemented on a large scale, as you can see in Figures 10 and 11.

A long way from overcoming the old way of thinking “peat belongs in the moor” and the realisation that a constant water level and small pools that are protected against the wash of the waves are more important for peat moss to grown that areas of dry peat.
There are still peat mounds in the Great Moor which are slowly decomposing and require painstaking care to prevent them from foresting. Maybe the management of these areas should be considered again, for example from a climate protection perspective.

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