Press release: Balancing views on the responsible use of peat and peatlands The International Peat Technology Symposium and IPS Annual Convention attracted 280 professionals to Riga

Press release

International Peat Society, 10 September 2014

Balancing views on the responsible use of peat and peatlands

The International Peat Technology Symposium and IPS Annual Convention attracted 280 professionals to Riga

The Latvian Peat Producers Association (LPPA) together with the International Peat Society (IPS) welcomed, as part of the traditional Baltic Peat Producers Forum and the IPS Annual Convention, more than 280 participants representing peatland scientists, peat producers, suppliers and service providers from 28 countries to Riga, Latvia.

The Symposium, held from 24 - 29 August 2014 at the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, addressed the sector through nine sessions on peat properties, peat production, site planning, peat use in horticulture and energy, peatland restoration and conservation, drained organic soils in agriculture, peat in culture and education, and IT solutions. In addition, the participants were able to choose between six different excursions, among others, to the Kemeri National Park, Cena Mire, Riga Old Town and several peat production, pristine mire and peatland restoration sites.

Peatlands and peat of increasing importance

A principle topic was the future of the peat industry in view of the development of the horticulture and energy industries in balance with environmental values, biodiversity, and climate processes in peatlands. The participants agreed that although the responsibility of the industry for this kind of land use is high, the question on whether or not peat is produced in the Baltic states or elsewhere has only a small impact on the state of peatlands worldwide.  Larger scale challenges by drainage for agriculture and forestry, changing climatic conditions, urban development and other human impacts were identified as greater threats overall.


Peat producers in Europe and Northern America are, however, aware of their role in the responsible use and management of the valuable peatland resource. Much work has been done to develop e.g. an independent third party verifiable certification in North America. Currently, there is also considerable effort being carried out in Europe in preparing a certification scheme for peatlands impacted by human activities and where peat production would not cause further disturbance. In addition, investment is being made through industry supported, science based research regarding restoration measures for cut-away and post harvest peatlands, as well as rehabilitation measures such as rewetting or afforestation.

These important questions were emphasized in the key note speeches by Mr Romans Naudins, Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, Professor Björn Hånell, President of the IPS, Dr Norbert Siebels of Klasmann-Deilmann GmbH, Germany; Dr Ilze Ozola and Renars Skudra of the Latvian Peat Producers Association; Mr Hein Boon of RHP, Dr Marcel Silvius of Wetlands International, and Mr Stefaan Vandaele of Peltracom Ltd. on behalf of RPP certification, as well as Dr Jack Rieley, Chair of the IPS Scientific Advisory Board and Mr Hannu Salo, IPS Secretary General.

Report on international conventions published

At the event, the IPS also launched its report on “International Conventions, Agencies, Agreements and Programmes – implications for peat and peatland management”, edited by Dr Jack Rieley and Sandra Lubinaite. The detailed 54-page report describes 20 conventions/agreements and organizations such as the CBD, UNFCCC, FAO, IPCC and IUCN and their relationships to each other. The full report can be downloaded from the IPS website: http://www.peatsociety.org/conventions2014.

Honors and future plans for the peat science and industry community

In Riga, the International Peat Society granted its 2014 Award of Excellence to Professor Richard “Dicky” Clymo from the United Kingdom for his lifetime achievements in research and fostering international cooperation. In addition, Jaakko Silpola, former Secretary General, became a new honorary member of the IPS.

Most participants of the conference came from Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Russia. Of special interest were the Baltic producers’ presentations on 28 August and an informative update on the planning of the International Peat Congress 2016 in Kuching, Malaysia (http://ipc2016.com).

The next IPS Annual Convention will be held in Tullamore, Ireland, on 7 - 12 June 2015, followed by the Baltic Peat Forum in Tallinn, Estonia, in September 2015. Estonia was also authorized to host the 16th International Peat Congress in 2020.

For further information, visit www.peat2014.lv and www.peatsociety.org or contact the IPS Secretariat, ips@peatsociety.org, +358 40 418 4075.

Captions:

  • Welcome speech by Professor Björn Hånell, President of the IPS. Photo: Susann Warnecke
  • Peat is the most important raw material for modern horticulture. Photos: Hannu Salo
  • Protected mire in Kemeri National Park, Latvia. Photo: Susann Warnecke
  • Participants of the symposium. Photo: Sandra Lubinaite
  • IPS Conventions Report 2014.
  • Thirteen of the eighteen IPS National Committee representatives. Photo: Susann Warnecke

Full resolution: http://pho.to/760iV