Peatland Ecosystems

Blanket bog of the Flow Country, Forsinard, UK

Blanket bog of the Flow Country, Forsinard, UK

Photo: RSPB


Thematic group leads

Clifton Bain & Maria Nuutinen

Peatland conservation and restoration is a prime example of nature providing valuable ecosystem services particularly for water and climate regulation.
Peatlands are found in at least 175 countries – from the tropics to the poles- and cover around 4 million km2 or 3% of the world’s land area. Historically the important role of peatlands has not been widely appreciated and large areas have been damaged by landuse change, pollution and now the impact of climate change. Drained and damaged peatlands add to the climate change problem by emitting 2 Gigatonnes of CO2 each year, almost 6% of Global greenhouse gas emissions.
International biodiversity and climate change conventions now recognise peatlands as a priority for action with peatland restoration being identified as the low hanging fruit in tackling climate change. Across the globe, countries are demonstrating examples of peatland ecosystem management using innovative combinations of policy, science and practice, including novel methods of securing payments for ecosystem services. Following a call for action on peatlands at the IUCN 2012 World Conservation Congress there is a strong desire to share experience on peatland management and to scale up delivery which could make significant contributions towards Biodiversity, Aichi targets, Ramsar Convention, climate change objectives and other international obligations.

The Peatland Thematic Group’s work aims to highlighting the benefits of peatland ecosystems and explore new funding opportunities for peatlands based on ecosystem services. The group will encompass a truly international network of experts to share good practice build consensus on science and encourage national strategies for action to deliver peatland conservation and restoration. The group will work closely with other international peatland initiatives (eg IMCG, UN FAO) to ensure synergy and provide added value.
The IUCN UK National Committee Peatland Programme will provide the secretariat to support the group

Overall purpose of the Peatland Thematic Group
1. To provide good practice advice and information aimed at peatland conservation/restoration action to support delivery of biodiversity, climate change and water objectives.
2. To support knowledge exchange with/between partners on peatland management and funding opportunities.
3. To assist the scientific community in recognizing, identifying and describing peatland ecosystems wherever they occur.
4. To support countries in adopting strategic policies for peatlands and to assess progress of peatland ecosystem management towards biodiversity and climate change targets.

• A series of international workshops exploring good practice in peatland ecosystem management and description/identification of peatlands and peatland states.
• Publish good practice guidance showcasing peatland restoration projects and private funding initiatives (eg carbon and water).
• Provide a global analysis of progress in peatland delivery of biodiversity and climate change objectives.
• Provide a web based information hub on peatland conservation and restoration