Towards the First Peatland Policy in Ireland

Florence Renou-Wilson

Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress


biodiversity, ecosystem-services, peatland-strategy, policy, sustainability, sustainable-management

Renou-Wilson 2012: Towards the First Peatland Policy in Ireland


Theme I.  Inventory, stratigraphy and conservation of mires and peatlands


Peatlands cover a large part of the land surface in the Republic of Ireland, occurring as raised bogs, blanket bogs and fens and forming cultural landscape icons in many parts of the country. The BOGLAND Project was funded as part of the Sustainable Development Research Programme of the Environmental Protection Agency to reveal the global significance of this national resource and the dilemmas of peatland management, utilisation and conservation. The project yielded a lot of information on many aspects of peatlands covering the four pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, economic and institutional. The project has demonstrated the compelling evidence of the importance of Ireland’s peatland resource as (1) a major carbon store, (2) the negative potential of degraded peatlands to augment the greenhouse effect, (3) the positive role of natural and restored peatlands to actively sequester carbon from the atmosphere, (4) the role of peatlands in watershed management, (5) their contribution to biodiversity and (6) their essential attributes that confer them a cultural and informative function. In conclusion, managing peatlands sustainably, so that they can deliver all these benefits will require a mixture of economic instruments, regulation and institutional design. But most of all, it requires immediate actions. This presentation will summarise where we are today in Ireland:
1) Ten things we didn’t know about Irish peatlands
2) Ten facts showing that Irish peatlands are currently not managed sustainably
3) Overview of the protocol which delivers an action plan or set of recommendations to be used to draft a much-needed National Peatland Policy