• Duration: 01.01.2016 – 30.06.2019
  • : Climate change
  • Research status:  Closed

Adaptation of peatlands to the expected climate change in Bavaria - focus on fens (MOORadapt)

According to calculated climate models, a significant increase in temperature and a significant change in regional precipitation is expected in Bavaria for the period 2021-2050. The forecasts result in an increased risk of periodic flooding and drought events. Agriculture drainage and intensification in recent decades has led to areas in Bavaria in particular becoming "hot spots" for greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the emission of climate-damaging gases, the drainage and Agriculture of peatlands leads to the loss of biodiversity typical of the site, the loss of the water retention function and the pollution of groundwater and surface water. This results in an urgent need for action to record the vulnerability of peatlands in Bavaria to climate change and to be able to derive adaptation strategies for future peatland use from the knowledge gained.

Trapezoidal Plexiglas bonnets with a floor area of around 1 square metre are distributed on grassland, with wooden walkways laid around them to provide access
MOORadapt technical system © Matthias Drösler


The aims of the project are to investigate the significance of the interaction of location, plant species combination and climate change (primarily temperature and water balance) on the ecological services (production and habitat function and in particular the regulatory function sequestration and of carbon climate relief) in peatlands, to predict the vulnerability of these services to (future) climate change extremes on the basis of models and to identify management options for adapting peatlands to climate change. As fens account for the largest area, are used most intensively and have the highest climate relevance, this type of peatland was selected for this study. In the future, raised bogs should also be examined for their adaptation requirements. The investigations carried out as part of FORKAST TP4 have provided initial indications of the adaptation of peatland ecosystems. MOORadapt methodically takes up the findings from FORKAST TP4, but goes beyond FORKAST TP4 in terms of both the systems (grassland vs. tall sedge reed) and the questions: in particular, the temporal resolution, the model development including water level dynamics, the scaling/transferability assessment and the coupling with establishment and utilization studies within the framework of the planned ERDF project should be seen here. This will enable the knowledge gaps identified in FORKAST TP4 to be further closed for fens.

Concept at the Freisinger Moos trial site (FSM)


  1. Carbon balance and climate relevance: How do grassland and tall sedge meadows differ in the functions of biomass development, carbon sequestration and exchange of climate-relevant trace gases (CO2, CH4, N2O)?
  2. Model adaptation: How do (experimentally amplified) climate changes (especially temperature, water balance) affect the modeled exchange of climate-relevant trace gases and how can the dynamics of the control factors (water level but also biomass development) be integrated as parameters into the CO2 exchange models (see Burrows 2005) in order to improve the scaling possibilities of the models?
  3. Options for action: What management options exist to prepare for the adaptation of lowland peatland uses to climate change and the preservation of the ecological services of peatlands in the face of climate change?
  4. Synergies between adaptation and mitigation: Can synergies between adaptation and mitigation be developed and to what extent can fens contribute to the reduction of overall Bavarian emissions even in a changing climate?

Location / Variants

The core area for the investigations is the Freisinger Moos (fen). In an experimental approach, the ecosystem responses of an intensively used grassland and an extensively managed sedge meadow are recorded at plot level under current climatic conditions (reference condition) and experimentally altered conditions (temperature, water level and combination of both).

Examination program

The fluxes of CO2, CH4 and N2O are recorded at 1-3 weekly intervals and the annual balances for the gases are modeled. In addition, extreme events are simulated and campaigns are investigated using high-resolution trace gas measurements. Existing dependency models between CO2 exchange and control parameters (soil/air temperature, photosynthetic radiation) are gradually being expanded. Indicators for the transferability of the results to Agriculture are being examined.

Expected results

  1. Model-based assessment of the risk of changes in the ecological services of peatlands and differentiation of management options that prepare the adaptation of peatland use to climate change and the preservation of the ecological services of peatlands in the face of climate change.
  2. Adaptation and extension of existing CO2 modeling approaches in order to calculate more accurate emission inventories in the future and to quantify possible saving potentials.


  • Set-up and installation of the measuring surfaces by the end of 2015
  • Measurement of trace gases by the end of 2016
  • Evaluation by the end of April 2017

Project lead (HSWT)


Project execution


Adressierte SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)

Further information