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Restoration of natural wetlands, peatlands and floodplains as a strategy for fast mitigation benefits; pathways, trade-offs and co-benefits

Projects are expected to assess the current extent and state of European wetlands, their current and potential GHG profile (with or without protection/restoration measures) and their medium to long-term mitigation capacity through restoration or other measures. As a minimum, the assessment should take into account key greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O), the carbon value of services (such as production) in the baseline (e.g. food production) and restoration scenarios (e.g. paludiculture or non-productive uses, like agritourism) and estimate the abatement cost for different policy-relevant time periods. Assessments should therefore look at assessing any trade-offs of restoring wetlands primarily for climate and biodiversity benefits with the delivery of their wide range of other services, and on methods to avoid, and if not possible, to mitigate them.

Projects are expected to develop or identify workable tools and approaches for the sound estimation of GHG performance as well as impacts on biodiversity and a wide range of ecosystem services. The GHG emission during restoration (e.g. due to disturbance of soils, dredging of sediments, methane from rewetting) should be considered, including trade-offs and benefits of passive restoration and following succession of water bodies. The evidence collected may contribute to the related policies, like LULUCF, and the implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy commitments.

Projects are expected to go beyond the state-of-the-art of the different restoration and management techniques and knowledge and provide guides and recommendations about the scaling up of the solutions. In particular, the projects should capitalise on the evidence provided by LIFE, Horizon 2020 and ERDF projects addressing wetland, floodplains and peatland restoration and protection.

Actions should envisage clustering activities with other relevant selected for cross-projects co-operation, consultations and joint activities on cross-cutting issues and share of results as well as participating in joint meetings and communication events. To this end, proposals should provide for a dedicated work package and/or task, and earmark the appropriate resources accordingly.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.