What good has ever the peatland done for you?

Repeat participated in Stad municipality’s climate conference for students.

That was the question Inger Auestad and Knut Rydgren titled their workshop during til STADes – klimakonferanse for ungdom in the Opera House on Eid 13-14. November. Here, Stad municipality (one of the partners in Repeat) brought together over 350 students from the upper secondary schools, the local folkehøgskole and the local secondary school, to jointly focus on green transformation in their municipality.

The workshop consisted of a mixture of presentations, calculations, and a practical experiment. Here Inger Auestad introduces how peatlands can be damaged by e.g. vehicle driving (photo: Knut Rydgren).

Twenty-two of them participated in a workshop organized by Repeat. Here, the aim was to investigate the services provided by peatlands, with a particular focus on carbon storage and water regulation.

Together, we calculated the total carbon loss from the development of the 625-decare bog Bjørkemåsan in Nannestad municipality, previously mapped by bachelor’s and master’s students from HVL. Most workshop participants agreed that this intervention, which caused a carbon loss equivalent to the annual emissions of 26 500 Norwegians, was unwise.

The students also did a practical experiment to compare damaged peatlands (e.g., from vehicle driving) to intact ones (with healthy and living peat moss on the surface). Do they retain equal amounts of water during heavy showers, and how does the state of the bog affect carbon leakage into drinking water? The experiment showed that the intact bog generally works better than the damaged one.

Two simple peatland models. To the right; the intact peatland, surface dominated by living peat moss, to the left: damaged peatland, surface dominated by dead peat moss (photo: Knut Rydgren).

The students made good efforts both in calculations and in the practical experiment. For us in Repeat, it was valuable to test a teaching program under development. We look forward to continuing the development of the program, together with students at different ages, and Vitemer.