Previous Commission V - Restoration, rehabilitation and after-use of peatlands

Chairman: Dr. Catherine Farrell

Bord na Móna Energy Limited
Boora, Leabeg
Tullamore, Co. Offaly
IRELAND
phone: +353 579 345958
office: +358 506 45900
mobile: +358 87 242 5471
e-mail: catherine.farrell (at) bnm.ie 

Vice Chair: Roxane Andersen, PhD, Peatland Scientist new!

Environmental Research Institute
North Highland College
University of the Highlands & Islands
Castle Street
Thurso, Scotland KW14 7JD
UNITED KINGDOM
e-mail: roxane.andersen (at) thurso.uhi.ac.uk

Peatland restoration project map (BETA, Google Maps)
http://www.tiny.cc/peatrestmap


Show the IPS Peatland Restoration and Rehabilitation Projects Map on a larger map

About the  Chair

Dr. Catherine Farrell is Senior Ecologist with
Bord na Móna (the Irish peat company).
A graduate of UCD (B.Sc. Environmental Biology),
her Ph.D. focussed on restoration and rehabilitation of degraded peatlands. Her work with Bord na Móna to date includes the successful implementation of a rehabilitation plan for a large-scale former industrial peatland (6,500ha) in Mayo and she now works on land-use categorisation and planning after-uses of the broader industrial peatland resource (total 80,000ha).

Please contact us if you have ideas relating to after-use and restoration and/or you are organising an event of interest to members Commission V.

Meetings

Within Commission V, meetings are open to different groups involved in restoration, including also non-IPS members. It is hoped that such meetings will lead to joint efforts with respect to practical mire restoration.

Mission

To promote the wise use management of peatlands and restoration and rehabilitation practices after human use of the resources or the habitat.

Goals

1. To promote the best restoration and rehabilitation practices according to the residual peat substrate conditions and according to the biodiversity and preservation priorities of the country
2. To facilitate discussions on the development of self-imposed restoration, rehabilitation and reclamation policies at each industrial company level
3. To encourage the development of field operations and site management that will reduce the impact on peatland environments
4. To promote the guidelines set out in the IPS Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management

Different Alternatives

Peatlands are vulnerable ecosystems in a wider landscape. Different types of management can result in different outcomes. For example grazing and burning may play a positive role in the long term management of peatlands that are conserved for nature. Drainage and peat cutting can however have a significant impact on peatlands and lead to irreversible degradation of the peatland site. In both scenarios there may be a requirement for restoration but to varying degrees. In general, the greater the impact of any ‘economic use’ on a pristine peatland, the greater the input required to restore and/or rehabilitate the peatland to its original state.  If a peatland has been changed beyond the point of restoration, it may be considered either to return some functional aspect of a peatland (water regulation, carbon sequestration) and/or it may be considered for an alternative after-use such as forestry, biomass and/or agricultural use.

However, restoration should always be the first priority in selecting a post-economic use management option as peatlands are important ecosystems for biodiversity in temperate regions and contribute significantly to the global carbon cycle in the boreal regions.

There has been considerable work carried out to date on the restoration of peatlands where degradation can be reversed, as well as rehabilitation and rewetting where some of the functional aspects of peatlands can be restored. There is also an increasing body of work illustrating that investing in restoration of peatlands can help restore natural capital and its ecosystem goods and services. These developments form a central part of Commission V and all contributions from the wider peatland community are welcome at meetings, conferences and workshops and/or as publications to the Mires and Peat on-line journal.

Working Groups

WG on Forest plantation on cutover peatlands

The goal of this working group is to organise exchanges of information and field workshops on how best to grow trees on cutover and cutaway peatlands. Forest plantation on cutover peatlands can be for an end goal of timber production or habitat creation to improve biodiversity. Leading experts in this field are:

Finland:
Lasse Aro, Finnish Forest Research Institute (METLA), Finland
E-mail: lasse.aro@metla.fi
Ireland:
Florence Renou the Forest Ecosystems Research Group, University College Dublin, Ireland
E-mail: florence.renou@ucd.ie

WG on Cloudberry production in peatlands

The goals of this working group are to promote and experiment on the cultivation of cloudberry in peatlands. Cloudberry is a nordic berry with good market potentials and might help diversify the economy in remote regions or regions stricken by the depletion of marine resources. Members of IPS could be interested in the results of these trials as several experiments are conducted on post-extracted peatlands. The main leaders of this working group are:

Canada:
Dr. Line Lapointe, Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG), Université Laval (currently on a sabbatical year in Umea, Sweden)
E-mail: line.lapointe@bio.ulaval.ca
Dr. Kristine Knaess, Les Buissons research center, Baie-Comeau, Québec
E-mail: kristine.naess@lesbuissons.qc.ca
Finland:
Heli Pirinen and colleagues, ProAgria Kainuu Rural Advisory Centre and Rural Women’s Advisory
Centre
E-mail: heli.pirinen@maaseutukeskus.fi
Norway:
Prof. Kaare Rapp and colleagues of Holt Research Center, Tromsö
E-mail: kaare.rapp@holt.planteforsk.no

Useful links (highly recommended!!)

UK Peatland restoration priorities and assessment:
http://www.iucn-uk-peatlandprogramme.org/commission/restoration

IMCG Guidelines on restoration:
http://www.imcg.net/pages/topics/projects/global-peatland-restoration-manual.php?lang=EN

Canadian restoration method for industrial horticulturral peatland;
http://www.peatmoss.com/pm-restguide.php

Overview of peatland restoration in Ireland:
http://www.pole-tourbieres.org/docs/Lamoura_Farrell.pdf

Northern Ireland Peatland restoration priorities and assessment:
http://www.qpani.org/documents/PeatlandRestorationguidelinesfinal.pdf

Useful publications

Blankenburg, J. and W. Tonnis, Eds. (2004). Guidelines for wetland restoration of peat cutting areas. Results of the BRIDGE-PROJECT. Bremen, Germany.
Quinty, F. & L. Rochefort. (2003). Peatland restoration guide, 2nd ed. Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association and New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy. Québec, Québec. 106 pp.
Wheeler, B.D. & Shaw, S.C. (1995). Restoration of damaged peatlands. Department of the Environment, Her Majesty Stationary Office, London.
Price, J. S. & L. Rochefort, eds. (2003). Restoration of Sphagnum dominated peatlands. Wetlands Ecology and Management 11(1-2; special issue). 125 pp. (Some articles are available at the Peatland Ecology Research Group Web site:
http://www.gret-perg.ulaval.ca/en_publications.html
Malterer,T., K. Johnson & J. Stewart, eds. (1998). Proceedings of the 1998 International Peat Symposium, Duluth, 14-18 July 1998. International Peat Society, Duluth, Minnesota. EUR 37
Schmilewski, G. & L. Rochefort, eds. (2002). Proceedings of the International Peat Symposium: Peat in horticulture – Quality and environmental challenges, A joint symposium of Commission II (Industrial utilization of peat and peatlands) and Commission V (After-use of cut-over peatlands) of the International Peat Society. Pärnu, Estonia, 3-6 September 2002. International Peat Society, Jyväskylä, Finland. 382 pp. EUR 25

Some of these books can be ordered at the IPS online shop.

Annual Report 2015

21st PERG meeting – February 2015

Roxane Andersen attended the 21st annual PERG meeting and a meeting on future work in the Oil Sands region of Alberta (fen restoration). The meeting was held in the University of Waterloo and was attended by over 60 people, mostly from Canada. The presentations covered a wide range of topics including fen restoration, oil pad restoration and fen creation. Following the main event, the team led by Prof. Jonathan Price (U. Waterloo) had a separate workshop where the future direction of research was discussed. For the first time, Roxane and Line Rochefort (Laval) discussed the idea of a global Conference, attracting an international keynote speaker (Prof. Hans Joosten) for the first time. The three-day event included a field trip, which took participants to a restoration site (drain blocking and gully reprofiling) in the North of Scotland. As a whole, the event and peatland restoration were supported by a motion and a question in the Scottish Parliament. The IPS was well represented at this meeting and a summary of the conference has been written up for Peatlands International.

Peatland Restoration and Rehabilitation Projects Map

We are still working with IPS Secretariat to update the information and web interface about peatland restoration on the IPS website. The map can be viewed online and we still welcome additional projects to add: www.peatlands.org/about-us/ commissions-and-working-groups/ c5-restoration. If you would like to add to any sites, please contact susann.warnecke@peatlands.org

Upcoming events

  • IPC 2016 Kuching, Malaysia
  • EMEC 2016, Inverness (Scotland). A special session of the EMEC conference will be dedicated to peatland chemistry

Annual Report 2013

June 3-8, 2013 – Society of Wetland Scientists meeting Duluth, Minnesota

Roxane Andersen attended the Peatland Restoration session of the SWS chaired by Rod Chimner (Michigan Tech University) and participated in the field trip supported by the IPS. The first stop took us to two cedar swamps that are currently undergoing restoration, where Rod Chimner discussed the ecology and management of cedar swamps. An excursion to a bog that was restored about five years ago using the “Canadian Approach” to re-establish sphagnum moss followed, led by Tom Malterer and Kurt Johnson. The participants were able to take a critical look at the importance of goal setting, timescales and adaptation of methods.

The full day session comprised several talks discussing the methods involved in large scale restoration of various peatland types and generated a lot of interest. Other sessions at the SWS that related to peatlands covered the response of peatlands to disturbances and climate (GHG) as well as conservation issues, mostly in the United States. Overall it was a well-attended event and showed that there is a significant amount of interest in peatland restoration in the USA. This should now be taken forward and reflected on the Global Peatland Restoration map.

June 2013 – IPS joint SAB-EB annual meeting Leiden

Roxane and Catherine both attended the annual EB-SAB meeting in Leiden, Netherland. At this meeting a number of IPD projects were discussed to re-vitalise the IPS in general as well as make the most of the expertise available through the various commissions. Within Commission V, it was agreed there should be work done to collate information relating to Peatland Restoration etc. and to arrange it on a dedicated webpage on the IPS website under Project 2: Global peatland rehabilitation/ restoration guidelines. A first outline draft proposal for the project was circulated in August 2013 which included most of the relevant text to be included on the website. It will now need to be formatted according to the IPS website framework for before further work is carried out and the webpage goes live.

Relating to the project, Catherine and Roxane have continued to develop the Global Restoration and Rehabilitation map (on Google maps), which has a number of project sites with detail easily viewed relating to project name, type, information of management, size etc. A number of sites from Canada have recently been added with collaboration from the PERG (from Université Laval, Line Rochefort’s lab) but there are still gaps. Please send  details of sites to either Catherine or Roxane for inclusion on the map. See www.tiny.cc/peatrestmap.

It was agreed at the meeting between the EB and SAB that Roxane Andersen would take over as Acting Chair of the Commission V while Catherine Farrell is on maternity leave. Two other meetings were conducted by email between the SAB members in February and November 2013 where Commission V was represented.

September 2013 – IUCN Symposium 2013

Roxane Andersen attended the 4th IUCN symposium Investing in Peatlands: Partnership for a New Era held in York in September 2013. As part of the symposium, Roxane took part in the workshop International Peatland Projects – Demonstrating success, where the IUCN presented its project of a peatland portal and booklet called “Demonstrating success” presenting case studies of restored peatlands around the world. The FAO also presented their project, a similar map of restored/ managed peatlands. Roxane and Catherine both made contact with the coordinators of both projects (Rea Cris for IUCN and Armine Avagyan for FAO) and pointed out the IPS initiative. There have been some emails exchanged but no concrete action has been taken yet to work together. Both FAO and IUCN projects appear to be in a pre-development phase, while the IPS map is a more advanced. It is obvious that there are some risks of duplication, and given the resources allocated to both the IUCN and the FAO, the IPS will keep an active involvement in these projects.

Upcoming events: 20th Anniversary of PERG symposium, Québec (Canada), February 19-21st 2014

RA will be attending the PERG’s annual meeting (February 19-21st) in Québec, Canada. The meeting will look at 20 years of partnership with the industry, how it has contributed to the development of current restoration approaches, and what challenges lay ahead, especially with ongoing Oil Sands development. Commission V will hold a meeting there to provide an update on current projects and upcoming activities and also integrate the North American activities with the European activities (e.g. global restoration maps).

Research in the Flow Country: Looking Forward. Thurso (Scotland), March 4-7th 2014.

RA is organising and hosting a conference on research in the Flow Country (North of Scotland). A major focus of the conference will be to explore opportunities to expand research with the international peatland community, especially related to restoration of blanket bog and climate impact on GHG. The conference is sponsored by the UK Peat Society. During the poster session, IPS registration forms will be displayed and the IPS promoted, and RA will present the global peatland restoration map during her talk (Putting the Flow Country on the Global Map).

Special session on peatland restoration at SER Europe in Oulu, Finland (August 2014)

CF and RA are helping to organize a special session on peatland restoration at the SER Europe conference in Oulu, Finland. Given the location of the conference, it will already have a strong focus on peatlands, and will be a good opportunity to exchange and hear about different initiative in Europe and beyond. The abstract submission will be from January 15th-March 30th, early-bird registration will be until April 30th and deadline for late registration will be May 30th. We will circulate the call for abstracts to IPS members and details when they become available. RA will not be attending the conference because she will be doing field work in Western Siberia at the same time.

Special joint session IPS commissions I and V in Riga during IPS conference in Latvia (August 2014)

Lars Lundin (Comm. I), CF and RA are collaborating to organize a joint session (Comm. I and V), workshop and field visit at the International Peat Technology Symposium in Riga. The registration will open on February 1st and the information will be circulated to IPS members and contacts. It will be especially important to circulate the information widely since there are a number of events over the next year with special focus on peatlands, and so a lot to choose from.

Other:

There are many other conferences and events of relevance to Commission V scheduled for 2014, and wherever possible the IPS should support those events and encourage members to attend. Information should be circulated through Peat News as early as possible.

Annual Report 2012

New Commission V Vice-Chair, Dr Roxane Andersen

During the IPC, Dr. Roxane Andersen was appointed as a new Vice Chair for Commission V. Roxane works as a research fellow at the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso (Scotland), which is part of the University of Highlands and Islands. She acts as the network coordinator for the newly established Flow Country Research Hub.

Roxane works on the evaluation of restoration of blanket bogs in the Flow Country and fens in Canada, with a particular interest in belowground processes and communities. She will be representing the IPS commission V at the upcoming SWS meeting in Duluth, Minnesota, in June 2013.

March 2012 IPS EB and SAB meetings in Dublin, Ireland

The focus of these meetings was to carry out regular SAB business but also to meet and interact with the EB. Amongst the matters discussed at the SAB were: the need to promote the Strategy on Responsible Peatland Management; to update the Global Inventory on Peatlands and to collate information and develop a IPS Peatland  Restoration and Rehabilitation Projects Map (see later).

Peatland Restoration and Rehabilitation Projects map

Following the meeting in Dublin in March it was agreed to progress the development of a peatland restoration/rehabilitation site map. Catherine Farrell developed a map under Google maps, which now has a number of project sites with detail easily viewed relating to project name, type, information of management, size etc. New projects can be added to the site. A number of people have been invited to collaborate but there has been a low level of response. The development of the map is viewed as a precursor to developing a peatland restoration and rehabilitation guide. The map can be viewed online at www.peatsociety.org/about-us/commissions-and-working-groups/c5-restoration. If you would like to add in any sites please contact catherine.farrell@bnm.ie.

June 2012 IPC 2012 Stockholm

Commission V had one main session on restoration and a joint session with Commission II on Sphagnum farming. In the main session, a number of presentations outlined the value of rewetting of peatlands, particularly in instances where Sphagnum re-growth is not favoured by alkaline peat layers and hydrology. The value of long term monitoring is clear and we saw great examples of the recovery following rehabilitation of bogs in Poland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Latvia.

The additional benefits of rewetting were highlighted – such as the value for breeding waders in Ireland (a species otherwise in decline and in need of conservation management) and other ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration. There were also very useful presentations about how scientists working on restoration and rehabilitation are contributing at the policy development level and interacting with peat producers and local communities living at the edges of peatland sites.

This Sphagnum transfer method and methods for cultivating Sphagnum both in the lab and in the field for commercial purposes was further explored in the subsession V.I (a joint session with Commission II) on Sphagnum farming. The pioneering work carried out by the students at the University of Greifswald is showing that farming Sphagnum could be a feasible commercial venture and after-use for the millions of hectares of drained agricultural peatlands across Germany.

We witnessed novel approaches such as cultivation Sphagnum on rafts in flooded mining areas and ambitious harvesting methods using tailored catamarans. Innovative techniques from the UK and Germany are showing how propagules can be cultivated in the lab, which would compensate for the lack of available sources of Sphagnum in natural situations in some countries.

Peatland Ecosystem Goods and Services; Joint BES IUCN Symposium 2012; Investing in Peatlands – Demonstrating Success; Bangor University, UK

Catherine Farrell and Roxane Andersen attended the meeting in Bangor, and Catherine Farrell was one of the speakers. It was well attended by a range of peatland managers, hydrologists, developers, nature conservationists and policy makers. The values of peatlands for grazing, clean water management, carbon and other aspects were highlighted throughout.

One of the issues that came up in a workshop related to the possibility of IUCN Peatlands UK working with IPS to organize an event/workshop for IPC 2016 to protect and restore tropical peatlands. IUCN was to contact IPS on the matter. A recent development has been the promotion of the value of restoration for carbon offsets. For more information see www.tiny.cc/r5l51 and www.iucn-ukpeatlandprogramme.org/sites/all/files/Including%20Peatland%20....

15-17th October 2012 Managing the Western Peatlands; Irish Peat Society

Speakers in attendance from Ireland, Scotland and UK debated the issues relating to the management of blanket bogs; with an update from the Chairman of the National Peatlands Council. The event was based in County Mayo and comprised a fieldtrip and seminar organised with the assistance of Deputy Regional Manager of the NPWS Denis Strong. The Irish Peat Society is now on Facebook – sign up to see photos from our recent workshops.

Working Groups within Commission V: please contact WG leaders directly for updates!!

 

Annual Report 2011

March 2011 IPS EB and SAB meetings in Stockholm, Sweden

The focus of these meetings was to carry out regular SAB business but also to meet and interact with the local organising committee for IPC 2012. Amongst the matters discussed at the SAB were: the need to promote the Strategy on Responsible Peatland Management; to update the Global Inventory on Peatlands and to collate information and provide guidance on the Best Practice for After-Use of Peatlands (more later).

June 2011 Responsible Peatland Management and Growing Media Production, Québec, Canada

This joint IPS symposium between Commission V (After-use) and Commission II (Horticulture) and our Canadian colleagues was hugely successful with representative from a number of countries. The meeting addressed a number of topics including an insightful update on the 10 year Bois de Bel project in Quebec, a session on Sphagnum farming and overview of restoration practices across Europe with excellent excursions. The inclusion of a strong contribution from members of the carbon and GHG community enhanced the event greatly.  http://www.peatlands2011.ulaval.ca/11218.html

Best Practice Guidelines for Restoration of Peatlands

The Commission V Chair outlined at the Stockholm meeting the thought process behind this concept, which had surfaced at a number of meetings since Belfast 2009.  There is a ‘perceived need’ for guidance to managers (and also by peat customers) on (a) selecting the best after-use and restoration measures for peatland sites, and (b) being assured that the site you are buying peat from will be managed in the best possible fashion post-production (certification related possibly?). While the matter was discussed at the Stockholm and Quebec meetings there has been no development other than including a chapter on restoration in the Practical Application of Wise Use Guidelines document being developed by Jack Rieley and Donal Clarke (circulated to all IPS members for comment). It is hoped that in the near future there will be a web interface whereby managers and consumers can access data on restoration projects and how to select best practice measures based on site conditions. It was noted that the work by the IMCG on the Peatland Restoration Manual was a move towards this and there will be some query as to the status of that work.
See: http://www.imcg.net/media/download_gallery/books/gprm_01.pdf

Global Inventory of Peatlands

It was also agreed at the SAB meetings that there is a need to update the global data on peatlands. Options were considered as to how to best achieve that and it was agreed that an online excel sheet posted by IPS would allow visitors to update peatland data. This was circulated to IPS member in 2011 but there has been a very poor response. This could dovetail with the work already started by the IMCG in 2004. See: http://www.imcg.net/pages/publications/imcg-materials.php

October 2011 Developing a National Peatland Strategy: a study tour and conference workshop; Irish Peat Society.

Speakers in attendance from Ireland, Germany and Finland discussed the development of a national peatland strategy for Ireland in light of the huge pressure to stop turf cutting on Irish Raised Bogs. The Irish Peat Society is now on Facebook – sign up to see photos from our recent workshops.

Review of Bord na Móna Biodiversity Action Plan 2010-2015

The plan was reviewed by consultees and a followed fieldtrip to a bog restoration project in County Roscommon. Attendees included members of EPA, NPWS, community groups and a range of wildlife interest groups. http://www.bordnamona.ie/our-company/biodiversity/

Future Events

At this point in time, there are a number of events for your diaries and these will be added to over the coming year. The main events are:
3-8 June:  Peatlands in Balance, International Peat Congress, Stockholm www.ipc2012.se
26-28 June: Joint BES IUCN Symposium 2012; Investing in Peatlands – Demonstrating Success; Bangor University, UK www.tiny.cc/r5l51
9-14 Sept: the 8th European Conference on Ecological Restoration, Czech Republic www.ecer2012.eu

Working Groups within Commission V: please contact WG leaders directly for updates!!
 

Annual Report 2010

Mission

To promote the wise use management of peatlands and restoration and rehabilitation practices after human use of the habitat or resources.

Goals

1. To promote the best restoration and rehabilitation practices according to the residual peat substrate conditions and according to the biodiversity and preservation priorities of the country.
2. To facilitate discussions on the development of self-imposed restoration and reclamation policies at each industrial company level.
3. To encourage the development of field operations and site management that will reduce the impact on peatland environments.

Strategy on Responsible Peatland Management meetings and review (Brussels October 2009 and Ireland 2010 meetings)

The meetings were attended by the Chair of Commission V who participated in the discussions on the strategy document. The strategy document was finalised in Amsterdam 2010 and has been endorsed by Commission V as a positive management tool to be used in conjunction with existing legislation, policies and strategies at local, national and global levels.
http://www.peatsociety.org/peatlands-and-peat/strategy-responsible-peatland-management

Peatland Restoration Seminar and Workshop, Jyväskylä, Finland, June 2010

The workshop and meeting was organised by our Finnish colleagues with considerable input from Päivi Picken (Vapo Oy) and Hannu Salo (IPS). On Wednesday and Thursday (June 16th and 17th) we had a range of presentations detailing the after-uses of industrial cutaway bogs in Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Canada (reed canary grass, wetlands, agriculture, forestry and berry cultivation) with other presentations on revegetation and restoration projects from Sweden, Indonesia and Estonia. The seminar was followed by a very interesting excursion, where we visited pristine mires and peatlands in near-natural state and then industrial sites with active peat production and those that were re-instated for after-uses. It was organised to coincide with the Annual Assembly, EB and SAB meetings of the IPS and focus on the role of after-uses in the post-industrial use management of peatlands. The seminar presentations can be viewed at: http://www.peatsociety.org/events/ips-convention-2010-jyväskylä

Attendance of Society Ecological Restoration; Avignon; August 2010

There was a special session on peatland restoration at the Avignon meeting with exciting presentation from the UK, Australia, Estonia and Ireland. http://www.seravignon2010.org/

Mullagh Bog Conservation and Restoration seminar and workshop, Ireland; October 2010

The Irish Peat Society is now on Facebook – sign up to see photos from our recent workshops.

Publication of Biodiversity Action Plan 2010-2015

See www.bnm.ie to download a copy. The plan was launched by respected Irish wildlife film-maker Éamon de Buitléar in Tullamore on Nov 19th 2010.

Future Events

At this point in time, there are a number of events for your diaries and these will be added to over the coming year. The main events are:
•    IPS meetings in Stockholm in March 2011 (EB and SAB meetings) that will focus on the preparation for the International Peat Congress in 2012. http://www.ipc2012.se/
•    The International Symposium in Quebec that will focus on Responsible Peatland Management and Growing Media Production (Québec City, Canada, 13-17 June, 2011). This is a joint IPS symposium between Commission V (After-use) and Commission II (Horticulture) and other partners. The last call for papers has been announced (November 2010) and abstracts due by January 31st 2011. http://www.peatlands2011.ulaval.ca/11218.html

New websites

Check out: http://www.peatlands.by/ and http://www.iucn-uk-peatlandprogramme.org/

Working Groups within Commission V (no updates)

Sphagnum Biomass Cultivation WG; Working Group on Cloudberry Production on Peatlands WG; Forest plantation on cutover peatlands WG

Annual Report 2009

Business Meetings

The Chair attended meetings of the Strategy on Responsible Peatland Management in Amsterdam and Belfast and the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting in Belfast in April and participated in the discussions on the strategy document.

Peatland Restoration Seminar and Workshop in Belfast, 24 - 25 April 2009

The workshop and meeting was organised through our Northern Ireland colleagues and the IPS UK National Committee, with support from the Irish National Committee, Commission V and the newly formed Commission X on Tropical Peatlands of IPS. It was organised to coincide with the Annual Assembly, Executive Board and Sscientific Advisory Board meetings of the IPS and focus on the role of restoration in conservation management of peatlands. The topics included management and restoration of peatlands in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Indonesia with a fieldtrip to peatland sites in Northern Ireland.

One of the outcomes was a proposal for the development of Wise After-Use Guidelines and Management Handbooks for restoration and/or rehabilitation of degraded peatlands. Also, an article on Peatland Restoration in Ireland was published in Peatlands International 1/2009, a special edition on restoration.

Attendance of Carbon and Peatlands Meeting in Prague, September 2009.

Organisation of Abbeyleix Bog Conservation and Restoration seminar and workshop, Ireland 20 October 2009.

Future Events

At this point in time, there are a number of events for your diaries and these will be added to over the coming year:

Quebec 2011

There is intent to organise an IPS symposium between Commission V on After-use and Commission II on Industrial Utilisation of Peatlands, Horticulture WG, for 2011 in Quebec, Canada on “Sustainable peatland management”. More details will follow; preparations have begun.

Annual Report 2008

Mission

To promote the Wise Use management of peatlands and restoration and rehabilitation practices after human use of the habitat or resources.

Goals

1. To promote the best restoration and rehabilitation practices according to the residual peat substrate conditions and according to the biodiversity and preservation priorities of the country.

2. To facilitate discussions on the development of self-imposed restoration and reclamation policies at each industrial company level.

3. To encourage the development of field operations and site management that will reduce the impact on peatland environments.

Wind Farms on Peatland Symposium, Santiago de Compostela, 27 - 30 April

A meeting about Wind Farms on Peatlands was co-ordinated by IMCG through the University of Santiago de Compostela in April. The main themes of the meeting were how best to plan and design wind farms and mitigate against environmental impacts on peatlands, and following from development - how best to rehabilitate and to promote recovery of these fragile ecosystems.

Extensive areas of upland peatland systems have been developed for wind farms in Galicia and the efforts carried out to rehabilitate around these areas following construction were reviewed, as well as a number of contributions from other regions of Spain, the UK and Ireland. While all who were present are in favour of renewable energy projects, the discussions highlighted the need for good planning and pre-development consultation with peatland engineers and ecologists, particularly in the light of the vulnerability of peat soils and the catastrophic peat-slides that occurred in Ireland in recent years.

Each proposed development should be considered on a site-specific basis, to allow for the variability in peat strength, slopes and potential for regeneration based on prevailing climatic conditions. A summary of necessary guidelines as recommended by the team of experts present was prepared and a copy can be downloaded from: http://xepecnet.environmentalchange.net/xwiki/bin/download/WFPS/Conclusi....

International Peat Congress, Tullamore

Scientific Sessions: After-use of cut-over and disturbed peatlands

A total of 24 oral papers were presented on topics ranging from restoration following horticultural peat extraction in Canadian provinces and rehabilitation following complete removal of peat, such as the case in some of the industrial cutaways in Finland and Ireland. There was good attendance at these sessions and lively debate in relation to the value of cutaway peatlands in areas where biodiversity has been largely marginalised, particularly the efforts made in Ireland to manage cutaways for enhancement of wildlife corridors for rare species and habitats. There were 9 poster presentations dealing with a wide range of aspects from restoration and carbon sequestration to issues relating to after uses for renewable energy and nature conservation.

Special session on Irish peatlands

This was a particularly interesting session as it addressed the degradation of the Raised Bog Natura 2000 sites which continue to be heavily impacted upon by turf-cutting in Ireland. There is an urgent need for restoration of these sites, and yet turf-cutting continues to lead to subsidence and loss of active raised bog communities. The issue was raised as to the potential role of cutover and industrial cutaway bogs where deep peat remains and how these may be restored to re-create peat-forming conditions.

Prof. Dr. Matthijs G.C. Schouten gave an excellent overview of the past 30 years of conservation of Raised Bogs in Ireland, and highlighted the continued and rapid decline of the resource despite international recognition of their value. This special session led to a workshop and seminar to be convened by the Irish branch of IPS in October 2008 with representations from the EU Commission on Environment (Nature and Biodiversity), Irish government and turf-cutting bodies. A summary of the seminar outcomes can be obtained from pat.fitzgerald@bnm.ie.

Mid-Congress and Post-Congress tours

There was a strong focus on the role of restoration and rehabilitation in the mid-Congress tours including: a tour of some of the best examples of the Irish Raised Bogs (Raheenmore and Clara Bog) and peatland restoration methods; an overview of the extensive industrial cutaway rehabilitation management at the Lough Boora Parklands; and a tour to a EU-Life funded project where commercial forestry has been removed from Raised Bog SACs to restore active bog communities.

The post-congress tour focussed on management of peatlands and the various starting conditions for restoration and rehabilitation projects that have been carried out in the North West of Ireland. These included projects to reverse the effects of overgrazing, afforestation, industrial and domestic cutting, and climatic effects. Details of each of the sites visited are included within the congress tour guides, available from catherine.farrell@bnm.ie.

Overview of Commission V meeting, Tullamore

SAB, Tullamore: Prof. Line Rochefort provided an overview of the matters discussed at the IPS SAB meeting in Tullamore. These included the following issues: terminology, certification, membership and planning within Commission V and other Commissions.

Terminology Group:

To date seven terms were agreed to work on like “sustainable peatland management” etc. These will be circulated to members for use and should avoid confusion between different organisations - both conservation and industry alike.

IPS Peatland Certification programme: Discussions followed about the certification of peat products. Work has already been undertaken by the IPS to explore different approaches to develop a certification system that will be applicable in peatlands globally. It is a substantial undertaking and all members are invited to make submissions.

Membership: There was discussion on how to clarify IPS membership in Commissions. It was agreed that there is a need to produce an action plan for Commission V that will be reviewed every four years to assess achievements and progress.

Peatland Restoration Manual: Some ideas about developing a practical instruction manual on peatland restoration were discussed. For example, how to bring into wider use knowledge of building dams in peatlands from a wide range of countries and the practical application of different methods. This could be developed as a website interface in conjunction with the restoration manual already drafted and available from the IMCG website.

Election of the Commission chair: Dr. Catherine Farrell, Peatland Rehabilitation Ecologist with Bord na Móna was elected to take the role of Chair of Commission V for the term 2008 - 2012. Professor Line Rochefort of the University of Laval stepped down following two terms as Chair and is to be commended on her outstanding work. Line established a wide network of international contacts and organised a range of useful meetings and workshops to share knowledge on restoration practices, particularly within Canada but also through Europe, South America and Indonesia.

Restoration Network Ireland

Restoration ecology is a growing discipline in Ireland and there are a number of long-established projects that have provided an insight as to how best restore and/or rehabilitate as the need arises. Following discussion with a number of colleagues it was decided to establish a restoration network in Ireland, with links to the wider international networks of restoration ecologists and ecological restoration practitioners. In particular, members of the International Peat Society (www.peatsociety.org) who are active in peatland restoration and members of the Society of Ecological Restoration (www.ser.org) who operate in a wider context.

A website interface was agreed as the best method at this time. The website of Restoration Network Ireland will provide an on-line database with information and contact details for project managers, as well as providing a forum for discussions relevant to all aspects of restoration. Please contact catherine.farrell@bnm.ie if you would like to be included in the mailing lists for information and updates on the initiative. The website will be launched in spring 2009.

Society of Ecological Restoration Meeting in Ghent, Belgium, September

Commission V members are encouraged to join the Society of Ecological Restoration. The annual meeting held in Ghent in September 2008 generated lively debate on the future of Natura 2000 network sites and biodiversity, and how to proceed with restoration practices to ensure sustainable ecosystems, habitats and species populations in the next decade.

Some interesting articles and details can be accessed online at the following websites:
www.ser.org/europe/ppt_keynote_speakers.asp
www.ser2008.be/
www.ser.org/europe/pdf/Irish_Times_SER2008_13-09-2008.pdf

Scientific Advisory Board Meeting, Jyväskylä, November

An initial meeting was convened in Helsinki to debate the certification of peatlands followed by the SAB and EB meetings in Jyväskylä. The SAB meetings focussed on a review of the proposals for the certification process. Other topics included the joint meeting with Commission II in 2011 which signals the potential for other joint ventures between IPS Commissions, particularly the restoration and rehabilitation aspects which can form an important aspect of the environmental management programmes within the commercial peat industry. The new Commission IX on Tropical Peatlands will provide for further scope for overlap within Commissions.

Outlook for 2008 to 2012

All suggestions from members of Commission V and wider member groups are welcome as to activities for the next four years in order to build on the knowledge base of peatland restoration and rehabilitation already existing to promote wise after-use of peatlands, within the Wise Use framework. At this point in time, there are a number of events for your diaries and these will be added to over the coming year:

Peatland Restoration Seminar and Workshop, Belfast, 24 - 25 April 2009

This workshop is a joint venture between the National Committee of IPS in the United Kingdom and Restoration Network Ireland. It has been organised to coincide with the Annual Assembly, EB and SAB meetings of the IPS and will focus on the role of restoration in conservation management of peatlands. The topics include management and restoration of peatlands in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Indonesia with a fieldtrip to peatland sites in Northern Ireland. The meeting is being organised through our Northern Ireland colleagues and the UK IPS members, with support from the Irish IPS National Committee, Commission V and the newly formed IPS Commission IX on Tropical Peatlands, chaired by Professor Jack Rieley.

Quebec 2011

There is intent to organise an IPS symposium between Commission V (After-use) and Commission II (Industrial Use of Peatlands, e.g. for Horticulture) for 2011 in Quebec, Canada on “Sustainable peatland management”. More details will follow.

Working Groups within Commission V

Sphagnum Biomass Cultivation WG

Research on Sphagnum culture is currently being carried out in Germany, Finland, Canada and Chile. Activities at the University of Greifswald in 2008 included continuation of the following established research projects:

• Sphagnum farming on floating vegetation mats for cultivation on flooded cut-over bogs and/other open cast mining areas. Contact: gaudig@uni-greifswald.de

• Perspectives of Sphagnum farming in the Kolkheti lowland in Georgia for cultivation in a warm-temperate wet climate, favourable for Sphagnum growth. Contact: matkrebs@gmx.de

These projects will continue into 2009 and a new project is being proposed entitled “Sphagnum farming on bog grasslands”. It should be noted that at the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) held in Changwon, Republic of Korea in 2008, a new resolution was adopted which highlights that the cultivation of biomass on rewetted peatlands (paludiculture) should be encouraged in a bid to mitigate any adverse impacts of bio-fuel production. This includes cultivation of Sphagnum: www.ramsar.org/res/key_res_x_25_e.doc.

Other research is ongoing in Canada, with links to Chilean producers. A Sphagnum cultivation workshop was organised by Dr. Christel Oberpaur for November in Chile. An overview of the outcome of this workshop will be available at a later date.

Working Group on Cloudberry Production on Peatlands WG

The goals of this working group are to promote and experiment on the cultivation of cloudberry on peatlands. Work in 2008 at the Centre de Recherche Les Buissons (University of Laval) focussed on several cloudberry projects: these included examining the effects of windbreaks and snow trapping on fruit production in the wild.

The research team successfully increased fruit production through the use of honeybees for cloudberry pollination and in collaboration with Line Lapointe at University Laval, the use of a biological fertilizer made from crab residues on cloudberry production in the field is currently being examined. Other ongoing work involves field trials of cloudberry selections; these selections are being introduced into in vitro culture in order to speed up the development of plant materials for future plantings. 

Relevant publications:

Bellemare, M., Rochefort, L. & Lapointe, L. (2009). Rhizome sectioning and fertilization increase the productivity of cloudberry in natural peatlands. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. In press (May edition). (This paper presents positive results of a combined treatment of mineral fertilisation and rhizome sectioning on cloudberry fruit yield. A larger scale experiment will be set up in 2009 to determine the feasibility of this approach at the scale of a field).

Gauci, R. (2008). Étude de certains facteurs influençant la production de fruits et de ramets floraux chez la chicouté (Rubus chamaemorus). Unpublished PhD. thesis, www.theses.ulaval.ca/. (The three main chapters are written in English; the research focuses on identification of limiting physiological factors on fruit yield of cloudberry). 

Production of berries in peatlands: this guide was published in French in 2007 and an English version is being printed and will also be available online: www.gret-perg.ulaval.ca/en_publications.html

Further information

Canada: line.lapointe@bio.ulaval.ca;
kristine.naess@lesbuissons.qc.ca
Finland: heli.pirinen@maaseutukeskus.fi
Norway: inger.martinussen@bioforsk.no

Forest plantation on cutover peatlands WG

There were no specific events organised by the WG in 2008 apart from the International Peat Congress, Tullamore 2008 mid-congress tour, which was led by Dr. Florence Renou-Wilson and Mr. Gerry McNally of Bord na Móna with Dr. Michael Keane of Coillte. The tour visited a number of cutaway peatland sites with forest trials, and the issues relating to the Irish context were discussed.

Participants of the excursion were each given a copy of the publication “Developing a forest resource on industrial cutaway peatland - The BOGFOR Programme”. Further copies can be obtained via the web-link below.

Discussions within the WG will continue into 2009, especially on the use of industrial cutaways for short-term forest crops. www.coford.ie/iopen24/product_info.php?cPath=1175&products_id=966620.

Further information

Finland: lasse.aro@metla.fi
Ireland: florence.renou@ucd.ie

Annual Report 2007

Mission
To promote the wise use management of peatlands and restoration practices after human use of the habitat or resources.

Goals
1. To promote the best restoration practices according to the residual peat substrate conditions and according to the biodiversity and preservation priorities of the country.
2. To facilitate discussions on the development of self-imposed restoration and reclamation policies at each industrial company level.
3. To encourage the development of field operations and site management that will reduce the impact on peatland environments.

14th Peatland Restoration Conference in Canada

The Peatland Ecology Research Group composed of research members across Canada (Laval University, Québec; Waterloo University, Ontario; McMaster University, Ontario; University of Alberta, Alberta) organised its 14th annual symposium on peatland restoration. The aim of this annual conference is to present to the North American peat industry and related stakeholders the latest results in peatland restoration,  keeping in mind to find the best ways to manage peatlands for future generations. This year as an open seminar during lunch time, Dr. James Michael Waddington presented a very comprehensive talk on “The impact of global warming on peatland greenhouse gas emissions”.
Besides the topics central to the theme for the research group on fen restoration or pool restoration in cutover peatlands, a hydrologist Dr. André St-Hilaire presented work done in collaboration with Premier Horticulture ltd on “Suspended sediment concentrations downstream of a harvested peat bog: overview of the latest works in New Brunswick”.
We also had the pleasure to have guest speakers from South Africa. Mr Piet-Louis Grundling gave an overview of the peatland rehabilitation measures in South Africa and Ms Althea Grundling discussing the use of remote sensing as a monitoring tool for the rehabilitation of peatlands also in South Africa. Abstracts of the presentation can be downloaded at: http://www.gret-perg.ulaval.ca/fr_colloques.html.

Scientific Advisory Board Meeting in Tullamore, Ireland
During the Scientific Advisory Board meeting in Tullamore in March, the IPS Secretariat organised a meeting between the Chairs of Commissions and the IPS Working Group on Peatlands and Climate Change. There was a good exchange of information between the lead author of the chapter on Restoration of disturbed peatlands in the context of climate change, Dr. Heinrich Höper and Commission V. Two members of Commission V, Dr Joachim Blankenburg and Line Rochefort, have been asked to review the chapter. This has been done by both reviewers. We do look forward to reading the end product of the whole working group.

8th Knowledge Transfer Workshop on the Sphagnum Transfer Approach to Restore Peatland

The Peatland Restoration and Sphagnum Culture Workshop, which took place from 22 to 24 October 2007, was a great success. This workshop was organised by the Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG, Université Laval) in collaboration with the Coastal Zones Research Institute Inc. (CZRI). The workshop was held at University de Moncton, Campus Shippagan (New-Brunswick).
The aim of this workshop was to present the Sphagnum transfer method and exchange knowledge gained over the years by managers from the peat industry. In total, a group of 40 persons including partners of the peat industry, members of the Peatland Ecology Research Group, researchers from the United States and Poland as well as a group of peat producers, exporters and researchers from Chile participated to this event. The conferences and the field trips were presented in French, English and Spanish.
During these 3 days, several conferences took place at the University. We discussed about the importance of restoring peatlands and planning the restoration activities. A practical guide summarizing the different steps of the Sphagnum transfer method is available from the following web site http://www.gret-perg.ulaval.ca/Guide2003_anglais.pdf .
Some producers presented the restoration activities undertaken by their peat company in recent years. Moreover, the regulatory framework for the restoration of peatlands in New Brunswick was introduced. We also discussed results concerning tree plantations on cutaway peatland and the reintroduction of aquatics and semi-aquatics plants in wetter sections (like artificial pools) of restored peatlands. Finally, the aims of Sphagnum cultivation and the experiments realised at the Sphagnum experimental station were presented. In addition, people from Chile explained the approaches and problems encountered in Sphagnum cultivation: (http://www.orchid-sphagnum-moss.com/ ) .
Several visits were organised on the field. Participants visited restored sites where the Sphagnum transfer method had been applied. To demonstrate how to realize each step of the restoration method, the PERG organised the restoration of a peatland in action. Moreover, people visited a restored site where pools had been created, as well as sites of tree plantations and the Sphagnum experimental station of PERG.

Sphagnum Biomass Cultivation

Research on Sphagnum culture is being carried out in four countries. In Germany, funding has been received to follow up on the past three years of research in Greifswald, Bremen and Georgia. Greta Gaudig the leader of the project has presented a synthesis of the work done so far at the International conference in Lamoura, France – Peat & Peatlands 2007 (http://www.pole-tourbieres.org/docs/Lamoura_Gaudig.pdf).
In Canada, the peat industry have approved support for the industrial research chair on peatland management for another five years giving the mandate to the Chair holder to pursue research on the promotion of Sphagnum growth in a sustainable farm system. Canada is also in the process of formalizing cooperation with Chilean peat producers and researchers. A formal framework to exchange students is being designed to facilitate training overseas and a Sphagnum cultivation workshop is being organised by Dr. Christel Oberpaur for next November in Chile.

Working Group on Cloudberry Production on Peatlands

The goals of this working group are to promote and experiment on the cultivation of cloudberry on peatlands. Cloudberry is a nordic berry with good market potentials and might help diversify the economy in remote regions or regions stricken by the depletion of marine resources.
Dr. Line Lapointe and Dr. Line Rochefort (both from Laval University) in collaboration with graduate students have finalized the guidelines for cloudberry production in cut-over peatlands located in northern climate. In the end, the original idea of producing guidelines to grow cloudberries in peatlands have been expanded to other small berries: Rubus chamaemorus, Aronia melanocarpa, Amelanchier sp., Sambuscus nigra, Vaccinium macrocarpon, V. oxyccocos, V. angustifolium, V. myrtilloides, V. corymbosum and various less commercial berries. For now the French version is available at http://www.gret-perg.ulaval.ca/fr_publications.html#2007. We are aiming to have an English version ready for IPC 2008 in Tullamore. The translation work is currently being done by the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association.

International Conference - Peat & Peatlands 2007

Peat in horticulture and the rehabilitation of mires after peat extraction: which issues for tomorrow? October 8th to 11th, 2007 - Lamoura (French Jura) organised by Francis Muller
This was among one of the best meetings I was offered to participate in. The reason – the real mix between peat and peatland researchers and the peat industry. There was no parallel session, so we had time to listen and learn about the views of different stakeholers as to the pros and cons of using peat in balance to the conservation of peatlands. The question of going peat free is not so simple. Different points of view can be read and often visualised at the proceeding produced online:
http://www.pole-tourbieres.org/Actes_Colloque.htm#intro
One point that enthusiastically struck me is the greater know-how that is being developed throughout Europe on the restoration of peatland after-use. At one point an English technical restoration book should gather all this information. For example, Lithuania has a good knowledge on how to build dams, either with machines or when not possible by hand. However, all this technical knowledge is not available in English. It could be a book on how to 1. Define restoration goals, 2. Prepare restoration plans, 3. Prepare peat fields, 4. Reintroduce plant material, 5. Rewet and 6. Evaluate success.
Definitively, IPS needs to foster more meetings organised in the same fashion, that is with focus programs where there are presentations across disciplines with no parallel sessions and time allowed for focus group discussion. This is one way to go forward to find real solutions to the sustainable use of peatlands.

Future Activities of Commission V

The peatland ecology restoration group (PERG) in collaboration with IPS commission V is in the early stages of making contact with the Society of Biological Conservation to hold a meeting in Canada for 2010. The main point would be to get a picture across North America on the sustainable use of peatlands. 
But more immediately, energy is in the organisation of the next IPS congress in Tullamore in Ireland focusing on the sessions related to the after-use of peatlands.
For program details and registration form: http://www.ipcireland2008.com

See you there!

Annual Report 2006

Mission

To promote the Wise Use management of peatlands and restoration practices after human use of the resources or the habitat.

Goals

1. To promote the best restoration practices according to the residual peat substrate conditions and according to the biodiversity and preservation priorities of the country.
2. To facilitate discussions on the development of self-imposed restoration and reclamation policies at each industrial company level.
3. To encourage the development of field operations and site management that will reduce the impact on peatland environments.

February: 13th Peatland restoration conference in Canada

The Peatland Ecology Research Group composed of research members across Canada (Laval University, Québec; Waterloo University, Ontario; McMaster University, Ontario; University of Alberta, Alberta) organised the 13th national meeting on peatland restoration in North America. The aim of this annual conference is to present the latest results in peatland restoration to the North American peat industry and related stakeholders, keeping in mind to find the best ways to manage peatlands for future generations.

May: Scientific Advisory Board meeting in Hanover, Germany

During the Scientific Advisory Board meeting in Hanover in May 2006, we visited the Ecological Protection Station Steinhuder Meer and were introduced to their work in peatland restoration and conservation in collaboration with ASB Greenworld. Gerfried Caspers introduced Lower Saxony’s Mire Protection programme and Thomas Beuster explained to us the restoration work done in the field. These types of exchange in the field are very useful in terms of knowledge transfer. For example, Mr. Beuster and his group have designed an efficient way of rewetting peatlands by cutting trees at least 1 m above the ground so that they will not resprout readily. Using their project as an example, it was possible to convince another peat company in Canada of the usefulness of such an approach and now a similar project is underway in the Province of Québec. Members of Commission V hope that such field visits to restoration sites during official IPS meetings will continue to be part of the agenda. Much can be learned in a short time.

August: 5th European conference on Ecological Restoration

A large part of the programme of the event, in which IPS was involved as a partner, was devoted to peatland themes. This conference was a real success and very well organised in a most pleasant modern conference center in Greifswald, Germany. During the conference I have encountered several scientific and industrial members of IPS. To those interested in the matters of Commission V – the after-use of cutover and disturbed peatlands, they could found a wealth of information and a diversity of persons to network with. Personally this is one of the best conferences I have ever attended, thanks to Hans Joosten’s team that made sure that several aspects of peatland management were included in the program. A longer account of the conference can be read in Peatlands International 2/2006 p. 21-22. More information can also be found at www.uni-greifswald.de/SER2006.

August: Post-conference excursion – Wise Use and restoration of peatlands in Poland

Patronage: IPS, IMCG, SERIEurope; Local Organisation: Save Wetlands Association

A very good excursion program was hosted by our Polish colleagues under the leadership of Wiktor Kotowski and Paulina Dzierza. We visited almost all possible stages of Central European peatland development, management, degradation and restoration. A report of this excursion has been published in Peatlands International 2/2006 page 23-25.

After visiting one of the nicest brown moss-sedge dominant fens of Central Europe, the participants felt strongly that IPS should notify the importance of this peatland ecosystem to the Polish government as the participants were concerned about the planned construction of the via Baltica highway. IMCG had already sent an opinion letter about that same site 2 years ago but as the project seems to follow its course, it was felt that IPS should also support the preservation of this unique ecosystem. As a result of this, the IPS Executive Board signed an official letter to the Polish government on the Rospuda valley at their November meeting in Florida.

October: Scientific Advisory Board meeting in Amsterdam

Draft guidelines for the organisation of IPS symposia and congresses were presented by Line Rochefort to the Scientific Advisory Board of IPS and several points were clarified prior to submitting the final document to the IPS Executive Board for approval. The guidelines for organising an event under the auspices of IPS can now be found at: http://www.peatsociety.org/events/how-organize-ips-event

Sphagnum biomass farming – an option to promote!

Favoured by the venue of the “5th European conference on Ecological Restoration” in August 2006, several researchers interested in Sphagnum cultivation visited the Sphagnum cultivation experimental set up of Hans Joosten’s laboratory in Greifswald. Several countries are interested in developing a research program in Sphagnum fibre cultivation but the right synergy between all countries is yet to be found along with a suitable EU funding program. The launching of the 7th EU framework will definitively provide a good opportunity towards that goal.

Working group on Cloudberry production in peatlands

The goals of this working group are to promote and experiment on the cultivation of cloudberry in peatlands. Cloudberry is a nordic berry with good market potentials and might help diversify the economy in remote regions or regions stricken by the depletion of marine resources.

Dr. Line Lapointe and Line Rochefort, both from Laval University, are currently working on writing guidelines for cloudberry production in northern climate. Guillaume Théroux-Rancourt, a graduate student from Laval University, worked the whole summer of 2006 on cloudberry projects in Finland and visited different stakeholders in Norway and Sweden. We believe that a good summary of what is known about how to grow cloudberries in peatlands will be provided by this guideline book. We aim to have an English version ready for IPC 2008 in Tullamore.

Future activities of Commission V

All energies are now in the organisation of the International Peat Congress in Tullamore, Ireland in 2008, focusing on the sessions related to after-use of peatlands. For program details and a registration form, please visit www.ipcireland2008.com.

Annual Report 2005

Mission

To promote the wise use management of peatlands and restoration practices after human use of the resources or the habitat.

Goals

1. To promote the best restoration practices according to the residual peat substrate conditions and according to the biodiversity and preservation priorities of the country.
2. To facilitate discussions on the development of self-imposed restoration and reclamation policies at each industrial company level.
3. To encourage the development of field operations and site management that will reduce the impact on peatland environments.

February 2005 – Peatland and wetland restoration in North America

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario represented by Dr. Mike Waddington, hosted a great workshop on wetland restoration where, for the first time, researchers involved in peatland restoration in Canada met and engaged in interesting discussions with researchers involved in the restoration of the wetlands surrounding the Great Lakes in Canada and the wetlands of Louisiana in the USA. A project on the creation of calcareous fens in limestone quarries was also presented. At the meeting, we learned that, for the first time, a restored Sphagnum peatland (the study case of Bois-des-Bel) had, as measured, become a net carbon sink during the summer, after the protective straw mulch has ceased to decompose and the moss cover had reached 85%.

April 2005: Sphagnum farming – an international workshop in Germany

Continuing the activities of the 12th International Peat Congress in Tampere in June 2004, an international Sphagnum workshop took place in Bremen in April 2005 to determine the focal points for future research, examine the international collaboration and to explore funding possibilities.
Accounts of the meeting have been presented by: Gaudig, G. (2005): Sphagnum farming - an international workshop in Germany. Peatlands International 1/2005: 15; Reinikainen, O. & M. Haukioja (2005): Sphagnum cultivation - looking into the future. Peatlands International 1/2005: 16-19.

May 2005: Meeting in Warsaw of Commissions III and V for excursion 2006 on fen restoration in Poland

A very good excursion program has been developed by our Polish colleagues under the leadership of Wiktor Kotowski. You are all warmly invited to join us and tour the peatlands and the fen restoration projects of Poland at the end of August 2006. A view of the excursion program is available at: www.uni-greifswald.de/SER2006/excursion_poland.html.

Wise use and restoration of peatlands in Poland (26-31 August 2006)

We would like to invite you for a week-long trip to Poland, where you will have the opportunity to see almost all possible stages of the development, management, degradation and restoration of Central European peatlands. We hope to enhance on-spot discussion on the limits of human interference in peatlands and on the prospects for their sustainable future, especially in the context of their multifunctional use and multiple needs of the society.
Organizer: Wiktor Kotowski, Line Rochefort, Lech Szajdak, Edyta Waniek
Patronage:  IPS, IMCG, SERI-Europe
Organisation: Save Wetlands Association

May 2005: IPS commission chairs meeting in Warsaw, Poland

1. Guidelines for the organisation of IPS symposia and congresses are making good progress and Line Rochefort should be able to send a first draft for comments and critics to all the other IPS commission chairs for the next IPS spring meeting in Hanover, Germany.
2. New Working Group on Peatlands and Climate Change
A call for researchers proficient with peatlands and climate change to join forces in an IPS working group was published by Line Rochefort in Peatlands International 2/2005:14. The first meeting of the Working Group was held in Finland on 1 February 2006.

September 2005: Working group on Cloudberry production in peatlands

The goals of this working group are to promote and experiment on the cultivation of cloudberry in peatlands. Cloudberry is a nordic berry with good market potentials and might help diversify the economy in remote regions or regions stricken by the depletion of marine resources. Members of IPS should be interested in the results of the trials as several experiments are conducted on post-extracted peatlands.

An international workshop was held on 12 - 13 September in the northern part of the Province of Québec. An account of the workshop is available in Peatland International 1/2006.

September 2005: Peatland restoration in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Upon the invitation of Dr. Jack Rieley, director of CIMTROP and the government of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, Line Rochefort, Chair of Commission V presented the North American research approach to peatland restoration and parallel of what could be transferred to the problem of tropical peatland restoration in Indonesia. Proceedings of the meeting should soon be available. The conference, entitled: International Symposium and Workshop “Restoration and wise use of tropical peatlands: problems of biodiversity, fire, poverty and water management” was held in Palangka Raya, Indonesia, on 21 - 24 September 2005.

October 2005: IPS international workshop on the Canadian peatland restoration approach

The annual transfer workshop on Peatland Restoration was held jointly with IPS in Canada and in English for the first time. The invitation to this International Peatland Restoration workshop was published in Peatlands International 1/2005:31. An account of the activity is also in Peatlands International 1/2006.

December 2005: Peat producer in Chile applying the principle of wise use of peatlands

Line Rochefort, chair of Commission V was invited by Alvaro Contreras, Chilean peat producer,  to tour some peat production sites in Chile and to evaluate if some of the wise management and restoration techniques promoted by the northern hemisphere members of IPS could apply to these peatlands. Also, meetings were organised with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of the Environment of Tierra del Fuego to discuss peat policy issues. Commission V will promote the development of further North-South cooperation in applying Wise Use principles to the Chilean situation.

Future activities

All energies are now in the organisation of the peatland restoration conference in Greifswald in August 2006. There will be over 7 full peatland sessions and so far the program sounds very promising. For full program details and registration form see www.uni-greifswald.de/SER2006/

Annual Report 2004

12th International Peat Congress

Scientific sessions

An excellent full day session on the theme: “After-use of cutover peatlands” was well attended and excellent discussions followed the presentations. Six scientific posters about the same topic were presented.

Round table discussions

1) Lasse Aro, Finland and Florence Renou, Ireland chaired a round table discussion on the topic of “Afforestation of cutaway peatlands”. Friendly exchanges followed well organised practical power point presentations by representatives from Finland, Ireland and Canada highlighting the main problems. The objectives were to exchange information and experience concerning the afforestation of cutaway peatlands
Jukka Huttunen and Markku Haukioja chaired a round table discussion on Sphagnum farming. Status of activities from different countries were presented and discussions led to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to organise a specialised workshop to explore the possibilities of developing an international research project on Sphagnum farming. In this regards, a workshop will be hosted in Bremen, at the Institute of Soil Technology (Bodentechnologisches Institut), Germany. The objectives of the workshop will be to:

  • Present the global activities with respect to Sphagnum farming
  • Exchange ideas for a joint international Sphagnum farming project
  • Explore the funding possibilities for such a project
  • Draft the outline for a proposal

We will also explore the possibilities of forming a Sphagnum farming working group within Commission V of IPS.

Commission meeting

Here is a short summary of the matters discussed during the Commission V meeting in Tampere. Any member of IPS interested in the topic of Commission V is always welcome to these meetings.

Election of the Commission chair

The current chair asked for proposition of the next chairperson for Commission V. Line Rochefort was suggested for a second mandate. She has accepted for a second and last mandate promoting to organise a meeting on peatland restoration in 2006 and to work jointly with the IPS secretariat on establishing a set of guidelines when organising an IPS symposium or congress.  After 2008, it will be good to have a change of chair.

IPS re-organisation

After close to one hour discussion, members of Commission V are of the opinion that IPS should not make a distinction between industry and science and the commission structure should be maintained. The Chairmen of the Commissions should be more involved in the affairs of IPS.

The roles of National Committees and Commissions should be clearly defined. What is expected from National Committees and from members within National Committees and Commissions? Should National Committees indicate to IPS the commission membership? For National Committee representatives, how does it work, what are they doing? Do they have more say in IPS affairs? Do we require more funding to participate in IPS annual meetings? The roles should be clarified and be available to the public.

Joint symposium of Commission III and V

It was agreed by all members that it was a good idea to organise a joint symposium between Commission III and V on the topic of fen restoration in 2006. A contact will be established to hold a it jointly with SER international and with IMCG.

Guidelines for the organisation of IPS symposium and congress

Line Rochefort is proposing that IPS should begin to write a CD-Rom or booklet to help new organisers and old ones as well to plan all the details of organising IPS symposia or congresses. The proposed committee at first could consist for instance of

  • Line Rochefort (experience with IPS 2000 and IPS 2002 and organising 2006)
  • Susann Warnecke (IPS Secretariat)
  • Juhani Paivänen (experience with IPS 2004)
  • Donal Clarke (to test it with Dublin 2008)

Scientific Advisory Board meeting in Amsterdam

For the first time in the history of IPS, the chairs of each Commission met in Amsterdam, Netherlands on 1 November outside the time of usual meetings of IPS congresses. The Chairs of seven Commissions were present. These meetings are very good to promote exchange and working links between the different scientific fields related to peat and peatlands. They will certainly induce more scientific activities within the society.

New Working Groups

Forest plantation on cutover peatlands

At the IPS chair meeting in Amsterdam 2004, Commission VII (Ecology and Management on Forested Peatlands, chaired by Hannu Hökkä) and Commission V agreed to create a joint working group on the subject of forest plantations on cutover peatlands. The goal of this working group is to organise exchanges of information and field workshops on how best to grow trees on cutover and cutaway peatlands. Forest plantation on cutover peatlands can be for an end goal of timber production or habitat creation to improve biodiversity.

We are currently exploring the possibilities to organise a field workshop in summer 2005 or 2006.

Cloudberry production in peatlands

The goals of this working group are to promote and experiment on the cultivation of cloudberry in peatlands. Cloudberry is a Nordic berry with good market potentials and might help diversify the economy in remote regions or regions stricken by the depletion of marine resources. Members of IPS should be interested in the results of the trials as several experiments are conducted on post-extracted peatlands.

This year a student from Canada received field training in Finland. Several group members made field visits of the Norwegian research field stations. Also several researchers of this working group met at 5th Circumpolar Agricultural Conference in Umea, Sweden (“The Role of Agriculture in a Sustainable Society in the North”) held in September 2004. 

Future activities

12th Peatland Ecology Research Group’s Annual Workshop

IPS member are welcome to participate in the 12th PERG’s Annual Workshop hosted by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario at Woodend, the main office of the Hamilton Conservation Authority,  on 21 – 23 February 2005. More information is available at www.gret-perg.ulaval.ca.

Symposium on Cloudberry culture

Potential plans are being made to have a symposium in Canada (northern Québec) for the end of July, beginning of August 2005 when the berries are fruiting. Visits of the current experiments would be included.

Joint Symposium of Commissions III and V in Germany/Poland

Building on the success of organising a joint symposium between two commissions such as the one in Pärnu, Estonia, Line Rochefort, Chair of Commission V and Doc. dr. hab. Lech Szajdak, Chair of Commission III, are organising a symposium for August 2006 jointly with IMCG and SERi. The topics being considered include fen restoration on cutover peatlands and fen restoration after the decommissioning of agricultural peatlands. For now, the tentative title is: “Exploring the future of reclaimed fen systems: ecological restoration and sustainable use”, with a formal symposium to be held in Greifswald, Germany, 22 – 25 August 2006, followed by a post-symposium excursion in Poland.

Literature references

General publications written by members of IPS in relation to the restoration and management of cutover peatlands have been added to the IPS website for reference. On purpose, single scientific papers are excluded. Any suggestion for addition is welcome.

Annual Report 2003

International Workshop on Forest Plantation on Cutover Peatlands

A four-day workshop on forest plantation on Cutover Peatlands (22-25 September 2003) was held in eastern Canada. It was organised by Dr. Line Rochefort and her team from the Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG). The workshop was intended for Canadian peat producers who want to increase their knowledge about tree plantations on cutover peatlands.

Two European experts were invited: Lasse Aro from the Finnish Forest Research Institute (METLA) and Florence Renou from the Forest Ecosystems Research Group, University College Dublin. They presented results on the current projects going on in Finland and Ireland respectively, as well as giving insights into the reclamation techniques used. Government representatives were also invited: Vincent Roy (Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources, Forestry division) presented some aspects of peatland forestry in Québec and Jacques Thibault (New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources) discussed forest plantation on cutover peatlands in the context of the provincial policy on peat mining.

Participants took part in a field trip across the provinces of Québec and New Brunswick and visited afforested cutover sites. Sites with good potential for reclamation were surveyed, as well as a peatland drained for forestry. It was an excellent opportunity for peat producers and other specialists to learn more about these reclamation techniques, to give rise to productive discussions and to promote further research in that area.

Because the exchange of information proved to be very useful, Lasse Aro (Finland) and Florence Renou (Ireland) have decided to organise a round table discussion on the topic of forest plantation on cutover peatland