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Standing Committee on Peatlands and Climate Change

The cross-commission Standing Committee on Peatlands and Climate Change was established by the Executive Board in October 2010.

If you are an IPS member and wish to join the work of the Committee, please send an email to susann.warnecke (at) peatsociety.org.

New Chairman:

Prof. Mats Nilsson
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
901 83 Umeå, Sweden
Email: mats.b.nilsson (at) slu.se

Prof. Mats Nilsson from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences has accepted chairmanship for the re-established Standing Committee on Peatlands and Climate Change. The IPS Climate Change Working Group had edited and published the book “Peatlands and Climate Change” during 2006 to 2008, but remained relatively inactive after that. We hope that research on that important field will continue also within IPS and information gathered by this Committee will be made available to all members. Prof. Nilsson’s first major task will be to organise an excellent climate session at the International Peat Congress in Stockholm 2012. 

Terms of Reference


The Standing Committee on Peatlands and Climate Change will provide the International Peat Society, its members and peatland authorities throughout the world scientifically based advise on climate change implications for peatlands.


The Standing Committee will be an interdisciplinary, multinational authority of peatland scientist drawn from environmental agencies, government authorities, and academia. Membership will be voluntary. A Chairperson will be selected from its members and appointed on a 2 year timeline. Additional working groups, task forces will be established as needed.


The Standing Committee will report through the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).


The Standing Committee, as the peatland authority on climate change will:

Initial activities:

In order to provide an immediate focus the following activities are proposed:

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Before: Working Group on Peatlands and Climate Change

Book on Peatlands and Climate Change

After two years of work, the book on "Peatlands and Climate Change" was lauched at the International Peat Congress in Tullamore in June 2008. The book, edited by Maria Strack from Calgary University, contains a broad range of articles on all aspects of this vast topic and can be ordered here.

Establishment of the WG

In May 2005, during its meeting in Warsaw, the Scientific Advisory Board of IPS agreed to establish a Working Group on Peatlands and Climate Change (CC-WG).

Terms of Reference

It is the aim of the working group to compile the available knowledge on peatlands and climate change into a summary to help IPS to understand the role of peatlands (and peat life cycle) in todays context of global climate change. Once better informed, IPS will know and see if they should promote further actions into the topic of peatlands in relation to global climate change.

It was agreed that each IPS Commission Chair would provide a potential list of experts in this field to the IPS Secretariat. The persons nominated should preferably be in a position to travel and attend workshops and meetings
of the working group for instance in Europe. During one of the next meetings, a Chairperson will be appointed, who will ensure that the working group produces a report with objectives, timetable and benchmarks. As an indication, the following topics could be discussed:

To get the work of the new group started, it is suggested that IPS would organise a small workshop inviting persons who have already signalised that they could participate within a potential time frame of two years in such a working group.

Once a report structure is approved, some funding could be made available to approach the different specialised laboratories for their assigned literature review. Then round table discussions will be needed to get a consensus on everybody’s content. For instance, scenarios similar to the ones used in the IPCC report could be considered.

If you are ready to contribute to the new working group, please contact the IPS Secretariat or Dr. Line Rochefort at line.rochefort@plg.ulaval.ca.

Kick-off Meeting

The Working Group held its Kick-off Meeting in Helsinki on 1 February 2006. Twelve invited experts from Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom and Canada participated together with representatives of the IPS Executive Board and IPS Secretariat in meeting. 

The delegates refined the mission, tasks and objectives of the Working Group and explored possibilities on how to coordinate their scientific work on this important topic. As a first activity, it is planned to produce an international assessment report on peatlands and climate change and to set up an expert database.

Seminar on Finnish Research Programme

All guests also attended, together with about 30 Finnish participants, a very informative seminar on “Greenhouse impacs of the use of peat and peatlands in Finland” at the Finnish Forestry Research Center (Metla) in Vantaa on 31 January 2006, the day before the CC-WG meeting.