Michael Succow Foundation: Emissions will be Five Times higher after Drainage of the Międzyodrze Area

A recent project launched by the World Bank in Poland for flood protection at Odra and Vistula (Odra-Vistula Flood Management Project) threatens among other things floodplain moors in the Międzyodrze area. On the Polish side, the nature was able to develop virtually undisturbed for about 70 years. The rebuilding of the planned polder and pumping station in the Międzyodrze area would not only destroy valuable habitats, but also endanger essential ecosystem services within these moors such as nutrient filters and CO2 sinks. In the worst case scenario, the area could release five times as many climate-damaging greenhouse gasses as today, according to preliminary rough calculations by the Michael Succow Foundation.

Nature conservationists on the German and Polish side are deeply concerned that the changes which are currently being planned by the World Bank project will continuously harm the value of the site or even destroy it irrevocably. The Michael Succow Foundation calculated for three scenarios, examining how the rebuilding of the polders Schillersdorf (8) and Gartz (11) would affect the Międzyodrze area. Even a small drainage of the area, i.e. a conversion to wet grassland, would almost double the yearly emissions of the area per hectare. In the worst case scenario – the transformation of the whole area into intensively used grassland – would cause the yearly emissions per hectare to increase fivefold. Greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen export were calculated according to the standard of MoorFutures 2.0.

Therefore moor scientists and nature conservation organizations such as the Michael Succow Foundation hope that in the implementation of the flood control project, environmental and conservational considerations were taken into account, because the Międzyodrze area is one of the most outstanding areas in terms of ecology and conservation in Central Europe today. Since the end of World War II, it remained virtually untouched and has largely self-regenerated during this time. During the 70 successive years after its abandonment, the most valuable areas flourished. These can be found on both sides of the park, in both the National Park on the German and the Landscape Park on the Polish side. These areas are now at stake.

Translation of the press release of the Michael Succow Foundation from November 17, 2015