Joint research conducted by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences indicated that drained wetlands contribute to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions of the country just as much as the Swedish industry.
Between five and ten percent of the Swedish surface area is covered by forests and agricultural fields on previously drained wetlands, which are known to be a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.
In the autumn of 2012, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency commissioned Dr Kasimir Klemedtsson and Örjan Berglund from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, to gather data for assessing the quantity of greenhouse gases released from drained wetlands. Together with Åsa Kasimir Klemedtsson from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, the scientists released their findings this week, indicating that the only way to reduce the emissions is to rewet the land.
Åsa Kasimir Klemedtsson from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, points out that if wetlands remain wet, only methane is given off, but considering that there is a nearly one hundred years history of draining them for agricultural purposes and forestry, the quantities of released carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are very significant.
Last year, at the Durban Climate Change Conference, new rules were introduced, where the possibility of rewetting these areas is included. With the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol approaching, Sweden is not facing the choice of implementing these rules ahead of the upcoming discussions.