The Groene Hart region as a case study
Soils subsidence in peatlands is the subject of this advisory report from the report from the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure. The report uses the Groene Hart region as a case study. However, most of the findings and conclusions in this advisory report also apply to peat meadow areas outside the Groene Hart region.
The land in rural peat meadow areas is subsiding. This is mainly a result of the water level being lowered to make the land suitable for agricultural use. Lowering the water level results in peat oxidation, which in turn causes the land to subside. Land subsidence leads to mounting problems, such as CO2 emissions and a deterioration in the quality of the water and the natural environment. It also increases the costs of water management. Continuing on the path of dewatering, resulting in continuous land subsidence and CO2 emissions, is economically, ecologically and socially irresponsible in the long term. In view of the need to counter climate change and reduce CO2 emissions (including emissions from peat), reducing land subsidence is actually unavoidable. The question to be addressed in this advisory report is: what choices have to be made to counter the negative effects of land subsidence in rural peat meadow areas and who should make those choices?