Sweden invests in wetlands to prepare for climate change, forest fires

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-06 20:26:25|Editor: Xiaoxia
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STOCKHOLM, April 6 (Xinhua) -- The Swedish Government will continue to prepare for climate change by investing in the country's wetlands, Swedish Radio reported on Saturday.

Funding for the investment disappeared from the budget last autumn, when Parliament adopted the budget proposal of the Moderates and the Christian Democrat party. Now, the government is returning 200 million SEK (21.5 million U.S. dollars) for half a year, which will go to wetland investments, reports say.

The purpose of the three-year wetland plan, which was originally adopted in 2017, was to strengthen biodiversity and increase groundwater levels.

Sweden's wetlands have been largely diminished over the last century, in a large part due to the forestry industry, products of which remain one of Sweden's biggest exports. "This has meant that the forest has become drier and more sensitive to fire," Hasse Berglund, biologist and section manager at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, told Swedish television (SVT).

"We see that there is an enormous need to support nature's own ability to store rainwater. Now that we see how climate change and drought hit the country last year, we should raise groundwater levels," Environment and Climate Minister Isabella Lovin told Swedish Radio.

Sweden experienced record high temperatures and a historic drought in 2018. Due to its proximity to the Arctic circle, Sweden is on the frontlines of climate change.

As the Arctic ice retreats, Sweden gets warmer. According to the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, the average temperature in Sweden is increasing almost twice as fast as the global average.