Cattail peatland farming serves as counterweight to sinking Netherlands

26 January 2018
Julie Mollins

BONN, Germany (Landscape News) — Peatlands in the Netherlands, which were once 2 meters above sea level, have sunk to 6 meters below sea level.

Previously, the country’s dyke system formed a barricade against flooding. However, the structures are no longer foolproof due to soil subsidence caused by drained peatlands and rising oceans.

Farmer Aldert van Weeren said he has found a solution by planting cattails (Typha), which can prevent soil subsidence by 90 percent or more and instantly stop carbon dioxide emissions caused by peatland drainage.

Historically, it has been more economically viable for peatlands to be drained so the land can be used for livestock farming.

Van Weeren uses cattails for home insulation and considers them central to a bio-based economy.



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