#PeatAction14

Not of my making, promise!  This was one of the hashtags at the IUCN UK Peatland Programme Annual Conference I was lucky enough to attend last week in (surprisingly sunny) Inverness.  I had two days of being surrounded by peatland enthusiasts (and Scottish accents) – boggy heaven.

The aim of the conference was to spread news of success stories in peatland restoration and convey the state of play at present in UK and European peatland management (with a bit of burning news from the tropics provided by the hard-working OuTrop).

Here are a few of the main insights I came away with:

  • There is still no ban on peat extraction in the UK, or anywhere as far as I’m aware, but the Peat-Free Pledge is gaining momentum, putting pressure on the extractive industry and consumers (check out Dalefoot Composts for a peat-free alternative – I was thoroughly impressed by their front man and his win-win project!)
  • Corporations are becoming more interested in funding peatland restoration activities, and the Peatland Code is being developed to  encourage that, through making investment outcomes more measurable
  • There’s not a huge amount of faith in the new EU agri-environment schemes effectively enabling long-term peatland restoration and conservation, since they’re not really designed for that
  • We need more maps
  • We need more monitoring
  • We need more communication on what restoration techniques are working/failing in what locations, as each peatland is unique
  • The passion, time spent on & government support* behind sustainable peatland management in the northern hemisphere massively dwarves/gnomes that in the tropics, as oil palm and fires spread across the millenia-old peat bogs of Southeast Asia
  • *We’ve got until 2030 to manage all of our soils more sustainably, says Defra.  Great.  How?
  • HIghland Park uses minimal peat in its whisky production

Here’s the poster I presented on behalf of Rezatec….

140922_IUCNPoster_Corrected

Needless to say I was glad to hear that mapping and monitoring were key requirements for improving peatland management in the UK!

And to end, some passionate delegates out on the peat, and the beautiful Sphagnum moss (plus friends) for good measure….

IMG_3147 IMG_3157

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