Unit Export were contracted by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Republic of Belarus to supply a self-propelled tracked reed harvesting machine as well as a tractor towed bio-baler. The equipment forms part of the EU/UNDP managed Clima-East project concerning the conservation and sustainable management of peatlands in Belarus to minimize carbon emissions and help ecosystems to adapt to climate change.
In order to satisfy the specifications set out by the UNDP, Unit Export sourced the reed harvester from a UK manufacturer whilst for the bio-baler a Canadian manufacturer was selected. Both units were shipped to site before re-assembly/commissioning and extensive training took place for the project staff.
Belarus has a vast number of peats/bogs and bio-diverse wetlands that provide a source of Oxygen production and trapping of CO2. However due to severe drainage of the areas in the 20th Century the wetlands were degraded, no longer providing suitable farming or forest areas, whilst also removing a key source of CO2 absorption. The carbon stores, if unprotected, could therefore pose a real threat to the climate.
The equipment provided is being utilised in Zvaniec and Sporaǔskaje peatlands in the Drahičyn and Biaroza districts in Belarus – the two largest lowland bogs in Europe. They will clear peatland vegetation and produce dry biomass that can be pelleted and used as a source of fuel to avoid excess emissions.
Efforts to keep carbon from escaping the peat are an important step towards achieving Belarus’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions; but the project’s intent is to achieve this in a sustainable manner, without harming the ecosystem and providing an economical solution through the pelleted fuel.