• Rewet Project

    How we recover wetlands
    to reduce CO2

    Freshwater wetlands, floodplains and peatlands have been degraded for several centuries across Europe and continue to be degraded, with the main drivers being large-scale drainage for agriculture, forestry, mining of peat and other materials. Wetlands, in particular peatlands, contain huge amounts of carbon and their disruption results in high GHG emissions being released into the atmosphere.

    Moreover, climate warming and changes in rainfall patterns lead to the drainage of wetlands, contributing to GHG emissions and the occurrence of natural disasters. Hence, the conservation, restoration and proper management of these ecosystems will significantly reduce current GHG emissions and has enormous potential for net carbon sequestration. Those practices are essential to meet EU and global targets on climate, nature, and water. For effective climate change mitigation, it is essential that wetlands’ carbon dynamics are better understood, their full sequestration potential mapped, and the most effective management and restoration measures identified and fostered.

    Wetlan area along a highway in central Indiana
Swamp lanscape drone view

Impact of the REWET project

In line with the European Green Deal objectives, the research and innovation activities of the project will provide a thorough understanding of the complexity inherent to the management, conservation, and restoration of wetland ecosystems. REWET will analyse and identify the best restoration strategies to maximise carbon storage capacity and reduce GHG emission of wetlands, considering their climate mitigation service.

REWET targets

The project will provide measurable contributions to achieve the following targets:

  • Improve knowledge on the status of EU wetlands: location, condition, type of management and pressures (including climate change) and restoration potential, to understand their capacity as carbon sinks or GHG sources for climate mitigation.
  • Improve assessment of the added value of wetland, peatland and floodplain restoration approaches under different scenarios.
  • Monitor their benefits and trade-offs in terms of GHG emissions, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
  • Analyse the degree to which these approaches related to wetlands are affected by different scenarios of climate change.
  • Contribute to the evidence on ecosystem services provided by restored wetlands and their long-term management as an investment with significant societal benefits.
Florida wetland

The Open Labs

In order to contribute more effectively to the EU reference framework on wetlands and generate higher impacts across Europe, the study cases have been selected to cover a range of local conditions and geographic characteristics based on the following criteria: (1) climatic and geographic conditions; (2) type of wetland; (3) vulnerability to natural disasters; (4) social, cultural contexts, vulnerability and (5) governance structures.   
Furthermore, their excellence in terms of implemented restoration activities or envisaged restoration activities has been considered through the following sub-criteria: (1) the degree of restoration and conservation they currently have, (2) the know-how and expertise they offer in terms of wetlands restoration and monitoring of GHG, biodiversity and ecosystem services and (3) innovation, upscaling and mainstreaming potential.

 
48
Month
 
6.6
Millions €
 
9
Countries
 
18
Partners

Gender approach

Conservation

In REWET, social aspects are extremely important: social barriers can affect the replication of the results. Climate change affects differently on gender, age, location, and economic status and the project wants to explore this effect to determine the positive impact of REWET with the potential climate mitigation provided by the Open Labs and the replication plan.

Therefore, REWET includes the gender dimension in all steps of the project and along three main dimensions:

  • The work within the project consortium and its management structures.
  • Dealing with Gender aspects in REWET Open Labs: gender can be affected differently by climate change. Restoration of wetlands to act as carbon sinks mitigate climate change, thus benefiting the population and affecting gender differences as well. In REWET, we will implement a monitoring process setting up individuals as observation units (social and economic monitor) including different activities that will allow specific tracking of the differential impact of gender.
  • Gender Dimension in REWET at large: environmental legislation, policies and programs will be analysed within gender analysis to avoid inequalities with different effects on women and men, such as people of different income levels, ages, and geographic locations.

Project Objectives

REWET aims to provide the evidence base for the restoration of natural wetlands, by designing, implementing and monitoring the 7 REWET’s Open Labs. By doing so, REWET will deliver effective and fit-for-purpose restoration, management and monitoring methodologies that are compatible with future climate change trends, maximising the potential of wetlands to act as carbon sinks and benefit from other ecosystem services.

That includes wetland type-specific implementation measures and guidelines and best practices examples from REWET outcomes and related projects, including standards for monitoring and reporting, and pursuing links with required national reports.

The inventory of European freshwater wetlands, floodplains, and peatlands with their current carbon footprint, will also include their current restoration status, extension, data collected (GHG retention/emissions, fauna and flora, type of use), by integrating the information available on EU and international databases and projects and the consortium network.

Wetlands’ carbon footprint estimate will be based on different scenarios through modelling, including their current restoration status, extension and data collected (GHG retention/emissions, fauna and flora, type of use).

The Decision Support System tool will assist complex decision-making based on prediction models on different climatic scenarios and land-use types to outline wetland emissions/uptake in Europe in relation to envisaged decisions. The Decision Support System will include the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic and social.

Through guidelines and workshops, lessons learnt from other projects and REWET outcomes will be compiled, aiming at contributing to major international frameworks, conventions and programmes, substantiating convincing policy options and supporting member states to comply with LULUCF.

REWET aims to provide options for sound business and financial models for wetlands restoration, considering land-use change. The evaluation of cost and economic impact on regions through restoration efforts on wetlands - including the Open Lab sites and other sister projects - will provide the evidence to do so.

Starting by identifying other wetland areas in the Open Lab member states – Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Estonia, Germany, Italy, and Portugal - and expanding to other EU areas, a replication plan will be designed. This will include the “toolbox” for implementation, identification of available funding programs, fit-for-purpose business models, a Decision Support System for wetlands managers and replication guidelines.

In order to humanise the planned technological developments, the social aspect of the project will also be considered, including the acceptance of restoration activities, exploring gender differences, and testing and fine-tuning campaigns to enhance acceptance among stakeholders.

The consortium envisages actively participating in conferences, organising workshops for target stakeholders, establishing and maintaining a Decision Support System tool, publishing guidelines and news about the project, as well as disseminating on platforms of interest and websites internationally, nationally and locally the results of the project.

Project workpackages

Project Start
38%
WP1

Project management

Leader: IDENER
Month: M18

38%
WP2

Open Labs and monitoring

Leader: IDENER
Month: M18

38%
WP3

Mapping wetlands status in Europe

Leader: IDENER
Month: M18

43%
wp4

Modelling

Leader: FIC
Month: M18

38%
WP5

Enabling policies

Leader: IUCN NL
Month: M18

38%
WP6

Replication and business models

Leader: IDENER
Month: M18

38%
WP7

Communication, dissemination and clustering

Leader: KNEIA
Month: M18

38%