Header photo: National Park Weerribben-Wieden © Elly Kelders on Unsplash

Wetlands provide drinking water, have a rich biodiversity and are important in mitigating climate change. Peatlands, for example, function like sponges that retain large amounts of water and release it in times of drought. Wetlands also hold large amounts of CO2, making them a ‘nature-based solution’ in combating climate change. But European wetlands are under pressure: agriculture, forestry, urbanisation and peat extraction have drained many areas.

Sustainable restoration and conservation of wetlands

REWET investigate the potential of wetlands for the sustainable restoration and conservation of these valuable ecosystems. The research focuses, among other things, on monitoring biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions and greenhouse gas absorption, and looks at various measures to optimise the absorption process.

By developing a roadmap for wetland restoration and concrete recommendations for policymakers and wetland managers, REWET aims to contribute to the EU 2030 climate and biodiversity targets.

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Seven open labs across Europe

Our ‘open labs’ are wetlands areas in seven European countries. These areas have been carefully selected on the basis of local conditions, geographical features, governance structures and socio-cultural context. These selection criteria allow us to develop a full understanding of the relationship between wetlands, carbon and climate (change).

The seven open laboratories across Europe:

  • The Netherlands: 1,000 hectares of peatland in National Park Weerribben-Wieden
  • Austria: 200 hectares of wetlands and flood plains in the Morava river area
  • Finland: 11 hectares of peatland in Ylpässuo
  • Estonia: 200 hectares of Ess-soo swamp
  • Belgium: the Bêche and Emmels 1000 river areas
  • Italy: 30 hectares in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Po Grande
  • Portugal: 90 hectares of peatland in the Paul da Gouxa Nature Reserve.

European partnership

REWET is a multidisciplinary partnership of universities, consultancy firms, non-profit organisations, water management authorities, local governments and international organisations.

The project builds on the knowledge and experience of previous and current related initiatives. IUCN NL strives for maximum synergy with the organisations behind these projects to strengthen each other’s work and share knowledge optimally. Examples of these ‘sister projects’ are ALFAwetlands, WET HORIZONS, WaterLANDS and WildE.

Resources on wetlands:

This project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

More information? Contact:

Caspar Verwer
Senior Expert Nature Conservation
Mark van der Wal
Senior Expert Ecosystems & Extractives