The Michael Succow Stiftung was established in 1999 as an operational foundation based in Greifswald, Germany. It is committed to protecting peatlands, battling climate change, and promoting nature conservation and sustainable land use in Germany and elsewhere. As a partner of the Greifswald Moor Centrum, it has close ties to the world of science and education. Although the Succow Stiftung is not a funder, its many years of experience in implementing nature and climate protection projects provide important insights into the funding strategy Direct Support.
Management Peatlands & Climate
Preserving ecosystems as natural climate mitigation and adaptation options is an essential component of any balanced climate strategy.
Drained peatlands are major sources of greenhouse gases, accounting for about 7 percent of all greenhouse emissions in Germany and about 5 percent globally. While protecting intact peatlands and rewetting peatlands are essential measures to curb the release of large amounts of CO2, so is their sustainable wet use, especially as effective means to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Application in Practice
The Succow Stiftung is involved in implementing numerous projects geared towards climate protection and sustainable land use. The foundation’s work spans from the local to the international level. In Germany, for example, the Succow Stiftung owns some 1,400 hectares of land, about half of it being peatland, where it applies tried and tested methods to restore ecosystems.
In one of its current projects, the toMOORow initiative, the foundation partners with the Umweltstiftung Michael Otto, a foundation dedicated to environmental protection. While the project aims to rewet drained peatlands in Brandenburg as well as in Lithuania, the foundation and its project partners also work to create economic incentives and suitable environmental policies to complement rewetting measures.
The foundation's own peatlands in Germany provide a valuable lab for its commitment in the Baltic region, where it implements restoration measures that have proven effective in Germany.
The decisive criterion for the success of the foundation's climate protection projects is their effectiveness in reducing emissions. The foundation determines this via proxy indicators such as water level measurements or vegetation analyses. For example, by rewetting the Sernitz peatland as part of the toMOORow iniative, the Succow Stiftung expects to save 1,000 t of CO2 annually and see an increase in biodiversity and water storage capacity.
By showing how to rewet peatlands in practice, the foundation aims to raise awareness among stakeholders such as farmers. It also strives to increase political, economic and social awareness of ecosystems and their potential as nature-based climate solutions. In combining Direct Support with Political Advocacy and Communication, the foundation aspires to raise awareness of the negative impact of agricultural policies, such as giving out subsidies for draining land through ditches. In this way, practical solutions for peatland climate protection are brought into the political arena.
What has worked well?
- Integrate other funding strategies: To ensure long-term impact and to scale projects, make sure to complement Direct Support with other funding strategies. Help create synergies by pressuring governments to reduce red tape.
- Involve experts: Ecosystem protection and restoration require a high level of technical expertise. Involving technical experts and scientists at an early stage makes it easier to respond to problems in the early phases of the project.
- Understanding interests: Ecosystems are unique, not only ecologically, but also in terms of their stakeholders. Context-specific stakeholder management may prove useful to develop an understanding of multi-layered interests and suitable solutions.
What are opportunities for new funders?
- Create beacon projects: Every peatland is different, but beacon projects can have an impact beyond regional borders. To date, there is still a lack of best-practice examples that demonstrate how to rewet a peatland by involving land users and businesses in order to create a natural climate protection solution.