Creating A New Approach to Peatland Ecosystems

CANAPE activities will deliver peatland restoration; develop new peatland products and bring economic benefits. Our target audience will be engaged with well managed peatlands across the North Sea Region.

Our Project has a budget of €5.545.105, of which € 2.772.554 million of ERDF will be provided by the North Sea Region. 




For centuries humans have used peat as a fuel and for agriculture which released CO2 and greenhouse gases. European peatlands are faced with an increased threat of flooding due to rising groundwater, while other regions are facing drought and a scarcity of drinking water. To address these issues in the North Sea Region, we are restoring bogs, fens and peatland lakes. These store carbon and they can produce an alternative economy for landowners. This alternative swamp agriculture is called ‘paludiculture’, which is sustainable and protects peat soils. The bogs, mires and lakes can also assist in storing excessive water from rain and protect against flooding with the mosses grown as part of paludiculture functioning as a sponge. 

Nine geographical sites have been identified where international cooperation will be particularly beneficial. Fourteen partner organisations will be testing innovative ways of working and developing four new products from peatland to support our alternative agriculture vision.

Project Objectives

We will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from peatland by preventing the excessive use and drainage of ground and surface water, which is currently  leading to changes in vegetation composition and the balance between CO2 uptake and release.

We will increase resilience against flooding by restoring peatland. Damaged peatland is less able to retain water, therefore more susceptible to erosion from heavy rainfall or wind. Lowland peatland ecosystems are particularly vulnerable as they are often found within intensely managed landscapes, for example directly adjacent to farmland, which is typical of low-lying parts of the North Sea Region.

Project Activities

The CANAPE project will promote & demonstrate the possibilities of using lowland peatlands for sustainable farming and management that will bring economic benefits to local communities and the region as a whole. The project will;

  • by preventing peat subsidence that leads to flooding of surrounding land making it unsuitable for agricultural use by introducing new, sustainable paludiculture products from reed and moss
  • by protecting the recreational value of these landscapes for the benefit of rural economies, for example by rebuilding reedswamp in lakes across the NSR that can naturally filter water and prevent the build-up of toxic algae.
  • Develop new products that can be produced from restored peatland ecosystems to offset the cost of conserving the areas, and also be incorporated into agri-environment schemes to encourage landowners to restore Peatland ecosystems.

Engaging stakeholders

Many of the causes of peatland degradation originate outside protected sites, and a large amount of peatland is privately owned. The issues addressed by the project are difficult to address through licensing or regulation. Therefore the project will work with farmers and landowners to promote sustainable land use in rural areas. Changing farming traditions can take a long time and legislation is typically implemented from the top down, which can mean that landowners do not always engage with schemes, often leading to a low uptake of agri-environment schemes. The challenge is to motivate relevant stakeholders such as farmers, anglers, young people and NGOs to work together to achieve more sustainable land use.

How to get involved

Please keep an eye on our news page for events, and look for a local partner on our partner’s page or project map page. If you have any queries about the project, please do not hesitate to contact us (details on the contact page).