Photo Gallery Germany's Endangered Bogs

Germany has been fond of demanding that developing countries do more to preserve natural habitats. But at home, the country's bogs, important natural CO2 storage areas, are in danger.
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Germany's swamps, bogs and wetlands are in danger. Even as the country demands that developing nations preserve habitat to promote biodiversity, bogs at home are being drained and turned into farmland.

Foto: Ingo Wagner/ picture-alliance / dpa/dpaweb
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Bogs are important, naturally occurring carbon sinks. When they are destroyed, vast quantities of CO2 are released into the atmosphere. To call attention to the danger, the Loki Schmidt Stiftung, named after the recently deceased wife of former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, named the bog asphodel the flower of the year for 2011.

Foto: Loki Schmidt Stiftung/ dpa
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Much of Germany's bog land is under pressure from a sharp increase in the production of corn -- both as animal feed and as to produce biofuels.

Foto: Ingo Wagner/ picture-alliance/ dpa
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German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen recently said that "we need to take action back home that matches our talk here," in comments at the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan. For the moment, however, existing subsidies encourage corn farming over bog preservation.

Foto: Jörg Carstensen/ dpa
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The type of bogs found in Germany, primarily in river valleys, rank among the most species-diverse habitats in the country. Endangered orchids and rare birds such as common snipes, curlews and corn crakes make their homes here. They act like sponges, providing protection against floods. Their soil layers, up to 10 meters (33 feet) thick, act as important storage sites for carbon dioxide.

Foto: Touristik-Information Ferienregi/ dpa
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