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Sink or Swim in the Peat-bog

Jaco de Groot

The soil in the peat-bog area is primarily in use by diary farmers. Grass production for milk is the main goal, some parts are used to grow maize, but most of the land is too wet for growing maize. The Netherlands uses 30% of the diary-farming yield for there own, 70% goes for export. There are 1,3 million people living in the province Utrecht, 5% of their consumption is produced in the province.

The problem; Sink or swim in the peat-bog. The peat-bog lowers between 5 and 10 millimetres a year, depending of the utilization. If the black soil is bare and the water level is low, the peat-bog lowers much faster, in comparison with grasslands and a high water level. The subsidence occurs by the incineration of the peat-bog. The cost of water management raises because of the soil, used by farmers, lowers faster than the built-up areas and the rivers. The incineration also causes more CO2 in the atmosphere. The CO2 emission of one hectare equals that of 10 cars. The subsidence is not a new problem; it started by the cultivation of the area in 1500 AD. The focus of the European climate agreement on CO2 emission makes the problem more topical and urgent.

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