Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management


You can buy a printed copy of the Strategy here.

SRPM Finalised and Published

The IPS is proud to announce that we have finalized the Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management. The participants of the Open Forum in Amsterdam on 10 October 2010 have, together with the Editors, finalised and adopted the Strategy during the weeks after the meeting.

To simplify the editing process, it had been agreed during the Annual Assembly’s Strategy presentation in Jyväskylä in June that such a meeting would be beneficial to deal with the last fine-tuning of the document. All comments given at the Forum were considered by the Editing Group consisting of IPS President Donal Clarke and Scientific Advisory Board Chair Prof. Jack Rieley and incorporated into the document.

The final Strategy can be downloaded below and a printed copy was be distributed together with Peatlands International 2/2010 to all IPS members. Additional copies are available from the IPS Secretariat. We warmly thank all those who have cooperated with us, submitted comments, provided funds or participated in meetings to have such a valuable document in our hands!

Download: Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management (PDF)

Presentation of the Strategy: srpm presentation 2011.ppt (PPT)
International Press Release 9 February 2011: srpm press.pdf (PDF)

Development of the Strategy

SRPM Status June 2010

The IPS has received 16 comments and 9 approvals for its Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management in summer 2010. A presentation on the status of the project was given by President Donal Clarke in connection with the IPS Convention in Jyväskylä on 16 June 2010.

At the 3rd Workshop of the project in Brussels on 28 October 2009, it was decided to review and reconsider all comments submitted for the different drafts of the document during the course of the year, to improve the language of and to straighten the contents of the document. This was done by a smaller redrafting group coordinated by IPS President Donal Clarke and the Chair of the IPS Scientific Advisory Board, Professor Jack Rieley during the last few months.

There are some matters the redrafting group, Jack Rieley and Donal Clarke, wish to draw your attention to:

1. There was a strong opinion that the strategy should not contain requirements for more research and data. We agree. This should be a strategy for the present not the future when more information is available. There are more than enough data available already to put this strategy into practice and further data acquisition can only delay its implementation or at least weaken it by implying we do not yet know enough.

2. We changed the order of the ‘priorities’ into a more logical sequence. The ‘economic’ priority with its objectives and actions was too long compared to all others and contained some information that was better located under other priorities or omitted. Some members of the co-ordinating group feel there is still too much emphasis on economics of the peat industry. Some actions were listed under the wrong priority and we moved them to where we felt they were more appropriate. We created a new priority for ‘after use’ since this was mentioned under several others.

4.   We removed most of the controversial terms and wouldn’t like to see them re-inserted.

5.    Each priority in the strategy now has an introductory paragraph before ‘objectives’ to explain briefly why it is important and as a lead into objectives and actions.

Short Background to the Responsible Peatland Management Strategy

In 2007, a number of partners indentified the need for a peatland certification system. The IPS put forward a proposal for a system which would be externally accredited and would be developed in conjunction with all stakeholders.

Following discussions with potential stakeholders it was decided to proceed with the first part of the proposal - the development of a Responsible Peatland Management Strategy. This first project was developed as a stand-alone exercise because it was agreed that such a Strategy would have value in itself.

The Strategy was developed at two meetings involving a wide range of stakeholders in Amsterdam and Belfast during year 2009. Between the meetings and after the Belfast meeting further consultations took place by e-mail.

This process resulted in the Strategy which was proposed for signature during a special Seminar in Brussels on 28 October 2009. During the autumn 2009 IPS received much support for the Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management when altogether 25 organisations agreed to sign the Strategy. However, IPS received also critical feedback, especially from conservation groups. Also the language of the document had to be improved. After thorough discussion, IPS decided to put the planned October 2009 signing ceremony for the Strategy in Brussels on hold. Instead a new commenting round was seen to be valuable. That’s where we are now.

3rd Editing Workshop - Brussels

The third meeting for the Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management was held on 28 October 2009 in Brussels, Belgium. Please find the minutes of the meeting below:

Update on Responsible Peatland Management Strategy

During the previous weeks we have received much support for the Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management. Altogether 25 organisations have agreed to sign the Strategy which was developed during two workshops and by e-mail in the following months. However, we received also critical feedback, especially from conservation groups and with regard to the language of the document.

After thorough discussion, we have therefore decided to put the planned signing ceremony for the Strategy in Brussels next week on hold and to arrange a seminar and round table discussion instead on the same day, 28 October, to review and discuss the proposals received, to plan further actions and the timetable of how and when to finalize the Strategy, as well as to deal with the possible peatland certification system in general.


We believe that this is a tremendous step forward for all peatlands – a strategy approved by different organizations from all over the world which outlines objectives and actions for responsible management of these important ecosystems and peat as a valuable resource and thereby provides guidelines for our everyday work, as scientist, policy maker, journalist, peat producer or end user.

IPS wants to thank all participants, stakeholders and colleagues for their valuable and effective mutual cooperation. The strategy at hand would not have been possible without the views and opinions all of you have given during this process.


Throughout history, peatlands have provided valuable services to meet human needs for arable land, energy, construction material,  as bedding and in arts and health. Peatlands provide also ecosystem functions like diversified biodiversity, balanced hydrology and carbon stock. In some parts of the world, historical use of peatland has been very intensive, completely altering the ecosystems of the original pristine mires and bogs.  In other parts, the use has been more extensive causing less changes to these habitats.

Continuous demand for new land for cultivation and construction, along with the natural decomposition process of drained peatlands, will lead to continuous and partly uncontrolled depletion of peatlands and peat resources.

During the first part of this year, stakeholders interested in peatland management and conservation have cooperated in order to create a strategy for responsible peatland management. After six months of work, the strategy is now finalized and sent to interest groups for approval.

There has been a need for a strategy for responsible peatland management that would, when implemented, contribute to the Wise Use of peatlands as well to the protection of valuable areas. It would also mitigate adverse impacts of peatland management to people and the environment, and foster the justified and well planned after-use of drained sites.

The vision of the strategy states that “Responsible peatland management respects the balanced stewardship of the environmental, social and economic values of peatlands  involving local, regional and global aspirations.”

To fulfill this vision, peatlands need to be managed in a responsible way, based on the following themes the strategy is focusing on:

• Economic purposes
• Water protection
• Peatland biodiversity
• Interactions of climate and peatlands
• Development of human and institutional capacity
• Information dissemination
• Engagement of local people in planning processes
• Good governance

Despite its broad scope and detailed content, the strategy is a generic document that outlines, under each above listed theme, objectives and actions that contribute to a responsible management of peatlands.

The strategy has been developed in an open stakeholder process where different interested parties had the opportunity to express their views and make recommendations in two workshops and by commenting on the subsequent strategy drafts.

Round table discussions and decisions were the guiding force when different comments were taken into consideration in the revised draft versions. Representatives from government and research bodies, from peatland agriculture and forestry, peat producers and end users as well as non-governmental organizations participated in developing the strategy.

Aim of the strategy is also to demonstrate authorities and the public the commonly agreed principles for responsible management and the actions the sector is, in general, ready to undertake.

The strategy establishes practical objectives for peatland management applicable at a global level. Describing a commonly approved concept for responsible management, it can provide a framework for the potential future development of a more detailed standard for peatland management, which can again be used in voluntary certification of peatland management.

All parties committed to responsible peatland management are now invited to adopt these agreed objectives and identify the actions that are needed to efficiently fulfill them. This commitment will be demonstrated by signing the strategy at its official launch in autumn 2009.

The International Peat Society hopes to see you and your organization among its partners who have adopted the strategy.

Jaakko Silpola, 26 June 2009

Public Consultation Draft 3 of the Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management

We have received more than 24 comments for Draft 2 which was originally prepared at a first expert workshop in Amsterdam in February. These have been taken into consideration and the document was further edited at a second workshop in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 27 and 28 April, including the addition of concrete actions.

Consultation Draft One

IPS and several of its stakeholders started to prepare a global Peatland Management Strategy during a workshop in Amsterdam on 13 - 15 February.

The Strategy is aimed to be about 10-12 pages long and will also contain some photos. We hope that different peatland organizations will adapt the strategy and support it as well as use it in their own operations after the document is finalized in joint cooperation. The strategy is targeted at decision makers at all levels - from international decision makers to local peatland managers. Therefore the language of the strategy should be easily understandable and the text should stay as short as possible. In case IPS members and other interested parties decide to prepare a peatland management certification scheme, its standards will be based on the strategy we develop now. More detailed background information as well as the full timetable of the project are presented in Chapter 1 of the attached document.

The 2nd workshop to finalize the Peatland Management Strategy will be held in Belfast on 27 - 28 April (Monday full day, Tuesday half day).


IPS and several of its stakeholders have started to prepare a Global Peatland Strategy the aim of which is to give strategic guidelines for peatland management from social, environmental and economical points of view. The Strategy can provide a platform and starting point for a peatland certification scheme if peat and peatland stakeholders decide to set up such a system. The joint document could also be used autonomically, showing decision makers what kind of actions should be taken, and why, in order to use and conserve peatlands in a wise way. Several existing similar documents will naturally be noted and referred to in this strategy work.

The first session to prepare such a Strategy was held in Amsterdam on 13 - 15 February 2009, attended by 27 participants from eight countries and a number of different organizations. The meeting dealt with the following elements of the Strategy:

    1) A review of the current global situation of peatlands and a forecast for 2020 was prepared;
    2) A draft vision for peatland management was formulated;
    3) Areas where change is needed, so called strategic themes, were selected; and
    4) Objectives for each strategic theme were set.

Please find below all presentations given at the Amsterdam meeting on 13-15 February 2009:

HBoonhorticulturalpeat.ppt (PPT)
JMamitPeatlandUtilisationinMalaysia.ppt (PPT)
JPaivanenPeatlandForestrycurrentsituation.ppt (PPT)
JPaivanenPeatlandforestrythefuture.ppt (PPT)
JRieleyTropicalPeatlands.ppt (PPT)
KMutkapeatindustryinEurope.ppt (PPT)
MBrandelSwedishpeatindustry.ppt (PPT)
TConstabelGermanpeatindustry.ppt (PPT)
TMinaevaRamsarCCGAP.ppt (PPT)

It was decided in Amsterdam that the next meeting session to prepare the Strategy will be held on 27 - 28 April in Belfast immediately after the IPS Convention on 24 - 26 April (see first page for details). At the Belfast meeting, the material from Amsterdam as well as the comments received in the meantime will be analyzed and approved. Based on the Objectives agreed on, several working groups will formulate a set of Actions. All interested people, both individuals and representatives of different countries and organizations are welcome to attend the meeting. Please contact Susann Warnecke at susann.warnecke (at) to receive more information. The number of attendees will unfortunately be limited to 35-40 in order to make the main meetings and group working processes technically possible.

After the Belfast meeting, the Strategy document will again be distributed for your comments until the end of summer 2009. In early autumn, the final draft of the Strategy will be handed over to various organizations for approval. According to what has been said in Amsterdam, the different peatland organizations should then be able to handle the final draft Strategy within three months. You are welcome to join the Global Peatland Strategy work!

Introduction into Peatland Certification

The International Peat Society is currently working on a project to establish a Certification Scheme for Sustainable Management of Peatlands (SPM). This has been done in other areas, such as forestry, and would, in our view, greatly benefit authorities as well as all other bodies dealing with peatlands and peat.

A first draft of the Plan to realize this important task, developed by the certification company INDUFOR on request of the IPS, was presented to the attendees of the 13th International Peat Congress in Tullamore, Ireland in June 2008.

In addition, the plan was distributed by e-mail to a wide range of experts in this area. The complete plan, an introducing power point presentation as well as all annexes can be downloaded below and read via Adobe Reader (install here if necessary).

We ask all stakeholders in peat and peatlands to submit their comments on the plan as soon as possible to the IPS Secretariat, Secretary General Jaakko Silpola at jaakko.silpola at or phone us at +358 14 3385 440.

Detailed Plan for Developing a Certification Scheme for Sustainable Peatland Management (SPM)

SPM_Report_ 29 05 08.pdf (PDF)

Project Presentation as given at the International Peat Congress 2008

Presentation_Certification_Tullamore_100608_final.pdf (PDF)