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Responsible Peatland Management Strategy Finalized

Throughout history, peatlands have bog.jpgprovided 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 mires and bogs.  In other parts, the use has been more extensive causing less change 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.  The Strategy was finalized and sent to interest groups for approval on 1 July 2009.

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:

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

ams1.jpgDespite 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 endorsing responsible hand_1.jpg
peatland management are now invited to adopt, where appropriate, these agreed objectives and actions that are needed to efficiently fulfill them. This 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.

In case you have any further questions, please contact Ms Susann Warnecke at the IPS Secretariat.