Lower Parts of the Netherlands Lower Peat Landscapes

The lower parts of the Netherlands used to be characterised by growing solid by peat-formation and becoming dry land. This is why these areas were capable of growing with the sea level. Because of draining and poldering these natural process

Fig. 5.28 Weerter forest: existing situation compared with climate buffer lay out (Source: Ecobus, 2005)
Fig. 5.29 Polder Schieveen as climate buffer (Source: Bureau Stroming, 2006)

was turned off. The landscape was no longer capable of functioning as a sponge and of keeping the water in the area (Bureau Stroming, 2006), while this is even more important in times of climate change. A climate buffer is able to increase the sponge function in the landscape. If a large area of reed and sedge marshland is developed, the landscape is made capable of storing water and discharging it slowly. These marshlands function as a water resource in summer. An extra advantage is that the marshland cleans the water as well, which improves the water quality. The existing peat-meadows and the reclaimed marshland are the most suitable parts in the landscape to function like this. In these areas the functions follow the water levels instead of a water level that is adjusted to a desired function. More water can be stored and the landscape is capable of growing with a rising sea level again (Bureau Stroming, 2006). An example of this is polder Schieveen (Fig. 5.29), but there are huge possibilities in the eastern part of Groningen also, where the ground level is dropping as a result of gas depletion, by a partial inundation of the Dollard. The process of deposition is happening very slowly and it can be questioned if the pace is fast enough to compensate or reverse the dropping of the soil. In clay polders the supply of mud is stagnated and these areas are drained as well. This is the reason why here a fast soil dropping takes place. Water management is completely artificial and becomes increasingly complex. These areas profit from re-coverage of natural deposition, which enhances the ground level to keep up with the sea level. It is desired, if possible, to connect some polders with the sea and rivers. De-poldering is able to start this process.

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