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Unique research project in polder Oud Ade

From 9 September onwards, Leiden scientists, citizens and farmers will jointly investigate how to sustainably manage peat meadowland. In ten years' time, they hope to have learned how to promote biodiversity and simultaneously reduce nitrogen and CO2 emissions, among other things. The research will take place in the Vrouwe Vennepolder near Oud Ade.

In recent decades, biodiversity in peatland areas has declined and the soil is subsiding. The peat emits large quantities of CO2 while cows produce methane, manure and nitrogen. Moreover, because it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep peatland dry, a new economic alternative to current dairy farming in the area is sorely needed.

Ten years of testing in the polder

Farmers, citizens and researchers from Leiden University are joining forces in a unique scientific study to find out how you can practise liveable and sustainable agriculture in peatland areas. In the Vrouwe Vennepolder, they will be testing ways of making the peatlands wetter again and trying out different methods of cultivation over the next ten years.

The Polder Lab Vrouwe Venne should provide insight into what is best for biodiversity, for reducing nitrogen and CO2 emissions, but also for the food supply, recreation and combating land subsidence. In the near future, farmers in the peat meadow area can use this knowledge to produce food in a sustainable way that is also financially attractive.

Unique cooperation with the Leiden region

Land van Ons, a citizens' cooperative with more than 14,000 participants, is making its 32-hectare plot near Oud-Ade available for the study. The municipalities of Holland Rijnland are helping to make this project possible. Knowledge institutions in Leiden, such as the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, as well as restaurants and other entrepreneurs in the region, are joining in to make this project a success.

'We hope this unique project will serve as an example for the rest of Northern Europe.'

Oud Ade as example for Northern Europe

Peat meadows are not limited to the Green Heart. A broad belt of peat meadow land stretches across the Netherlands, Germany all the way to Lithuania. Maarten Schrama, associate professor at the Institute of Environmental Sciences at Leiden University: ‘We therefore hope that the results of our research can soon serve as an example for many more peat meadow landscapes in the Netherlands and Northern Europe.’

The research project will start on 9 September 2021. Mayor Henri Lenferink of Leiden, rector magnificus Hester Bijl of Leiden University and chairman of Land van Ons Franke Remerie.

The partners

About Land of Us
Citizen's cooperative Land of Us purchases agricultural land to restore biodiversity and landscape together with farmers. Every citizen can buy a piece of agricultural land through Land van Ons and thus support the restoration of biodiversity and the landscape. 

About Holland Rijnland
Holland Rijnland is a collaboration between thirteen municipalities in the Leidse region, the Duin en Bollen Region and the Rijn and Veen Region. Together they improve the quality of living, working and learning for residents, entrepreneurs and social partners. 

About Leiden University - CML
Researchers of the Institute of Environmental Sciences Leiden (CML) investigate biodiversity in so-called Living Labs. Citizens can participate in the research and together with researchers and other stakeholders, investigate the conditions for, for example, a healthy living environment, food production and biodiversity.

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