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Commission II - Utilisation of peat and peatlands for horticulture, energy and other economic purposes

Chairman: Gerald Schmilewski
Klasmann-Deilmann GmbH
Moorgutsweg 2
D-26683 Saterland-Sedelsberg
GERMANY
Tel.: +49 4492 8275
Fax: +49 4492 8276
E-mail: gerald.schmilewski at klasmann-deilmann.com

Secretary:
Pat Fitzgerald
Bord na Móna 
Main Street 
Newbridge, Co. Kildare 
IRELAND  
GSM: +353 86 256 5825
E-mail: pat.fitzgerald at bnm.ie 

Commission II is open to any member of the IPS to attend and to participate in meetings. Decisions are taken by Commission II members and representatives of corporate members of the IPS present at a meeting.

A Steering Committee has been elected to organise and streamline the activities of Commission II. The current membership of the Steering Committee is as follows:

Magnus Brandel, Sweden
Pat Fitzgerald, Ireland
Johannes Welsch, Germany
Paul Short, Canada
Gerald Schmilewski, Germany
Jaakko Silpola, Finland
Nick van de Griendt, Estonia/The Netherlands


Horticultural Peat Working Group (HOPE WG)

The ad hoc HOPE WG was established in 1995. The objective of this WG is to identify matters of mutual interest and to deal with them, not in the interest of one firm or country but in the interest of all peat producers and for the general benefit of peat application in horticulture. The group’s principal activities are to:

Energy Peat Working Group

Coordinator:

Magnus Brandel
Svenska torvproducentföreningen
Torsgatan 12
S-111 23 Stockholm
SWEDEN
Tel.: +46 8 4417073
Fax: +46 8 4417089
E-mail: magnus.brandel at torvproducenterna.se

The Energy Peat WG was formed in 1996, with the objective of examining any policies, legislative issues and other matters that influence the use of peat as a source of energy. The WG is concerned with all aspects of the production and use of peat for energy, and with its impact on the environment.

The Group’s principal activities include:

The Working Group meets once or twice per annum, with meetings arranged in association with IPS conferences when possible. The Chairman would like to expand the scope of expertise in the WG, and would welcome applications from IPS members in Eastern Europe/Baltic States and from members with expertise in energy peat production, life cycle analysis, carbon balance and environmental impacts. The operating language of the WG is English.

Annual Report 2010

Peat production and peat use for horticultural and energy purposes comprise the main subjects of activity of Commission II. Discussions at and between Comm. II meetings on peat production, environmental issues, peat replacement, life cycle assessments (LCAs), organization of symposia and work on the Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management (SRPM) have been some the main topics for our Commission in 2010.

The work conducted by the Commission and other achievements made during 2010 are summarized below.

Comm. II meeting in Jyväskylä, 15 June

•    All represented 10 countries reported on their annual peat production which was poor in some countries due to wet weather conditions
•    The latest version of the IPS Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management was recognized as a much improved document and excellent compromise between the different stakeholders.  Comm. II accepted the draft.
•    The Commission had invited Paul Short President of the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association) to give an update on the LCAs that the organization was engaged in.
•    Reports on the Anti-Peat Campaigns in the United Kingdom and Germany were given by Jack Riley and Gerald Schmilewski, respectively.

All delegates to the Commission meeting are gratefully thanked for their engagement and contributions.

7th Symposium on “Peat in Horticulture” in Amsterdam on 11 Oct.

This symposium focused on “Life in Growing Media” and was a joint event organized by Comm. II and the Dutch National Committee of IPS. The symposium was also recognized by the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) with which Comm. II has kept close relationship in these last years. More than 120 participants from 19 countries were welcomed. It was the first ever expert meeting focusing on the various aspects of the biology of growing media. Presentations were given on topics i.e. saprophytic fungi, microbial properties of peat, suppressive properties of peat, self-heating of peat, mychorrizal fungi, microbial enrichment, entomopathogenic fungi, black fungus gnats and nematodes in growing media. Comm. II Chair edited the proceedings of the event.

International Symposium on Responsible Peatland Management and Growing Media Production, Quebec, 15-17 June, 2011

This will be a joint event of IPS Commissions II and V and supported by the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS). Comm. II Chair was able to attend a meeting of the Organizing and Scientific Committees of the symposium early Oct. 2010. A number of important side events and workshops are scheduled including the next Comm. II meeting.

Commission II representation

As representative of IPS Commission II, the Chair was invited to give an oral presentation on “Quality parameters and use of growing media constituents in Germany and the EU” at the 45th Peat and Humus Day in Bad Zwischenahn, Germany.

The Chair also represented the Commission with a similar oral presentation as above at a seminar entitled “Use and replacement of peat – responsible application of resources and climate change” in Fulda, Germany, organized by the German National Committee of IPS and the Bundesamt für Naturschutz (Federal Office for Nature Conservation).

Commission II supporting EPAGMA efforts

The European Peat and Growing Media Association (EPAGMA), is strongly engaged in pushing forward an EU regulation on growing media. This tedious work that will hopefully tear down trade barriers within the EU is strongly supported by Comm. II. In this context several members of Comm. II attended the EPAGMA Growing Media Forum on 5 May in Brussels.
Comm. II also supports the work EPAGMA is conducting on LCAs for peat and other constituents, as the Comm. will benefit from the outcome of the work.

Other business meetings

The Chair attended the SAB meeting in June in Jyväskylä and the November email SAB meeting. He also attended the 10 October Amsterdam meeting on the Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management.


Annual Report 2009

As in the past, peat production and use for horticultural and energy purposes comprise the main subjects of activity of Commission II. During discussions at and between Commission II meetings, peat production, environmental issues, peat replacement, Life Cycle Analysis (LCAs), organization of symposia and, the Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management (SRPM) have been some of the main topics. The work conducted by the Commission and other achievements made during 2009 are summarized below.

Commission II meeting in Belfast, 26 April

Commission II meeting in Brussels, 27 October

EU Regulation on Growing Media

Commission II wrote a letter to EU Commission supporting the European Peat and Growing Media Association (EPAGMA) initiative to harmonize legislation on Growing Media to facilitate trade in the EU and improving transparency for consumers. Meanwhile, an industry WG has been set up to draft a first regulation.

The Chair participated at the April EPAGMA Growing Media Forum in Brussels.

Turkish legislation asking for fumigation or heat-treatment of growing media
Commission II initiated and signed a letter to Turkish regulators explaining the practical restraints of such an imposition. Meanwhile, the requirement has been changed.

Symposium on Peat in Horticulture – Life in Growing Media

Acknowledged by the International Society for Horticultural Science, Commission II and the Dutch National Committee of IPS have started to organize this event (see Peatlands International and the IPS website).

International Symposium on Responsible Peatland Management and Growing Media Production, June 2011, Quebec

Commission II is engaged in the preparations of this event organized by Commissions II and V.

International Plant Propagators Conference in Kilkenny, September

The Chair gave an oral presentation on peat and growing media.

International Symposium on Growing Media organized by ISHS/IPS in Charlotte, USA

There was a representation of a large number of Commission II delegates showing strong cooperation between the two societies, also highly supported by the two organizations.

Annual Report 2008

As in the past, peat production and its use for horticultural and energy purposes comprise the main subjects of activity for Commission II. Discussions on peat production, environmental issues and a certification system for peatland management have been the main topics in 2008.

Commission II held two meetings in the course of the year, one in Tullamore, the other in Helsinki. The work conducted by the Commission and other achievements made in 2008 are summarized below.

Commission II meeting in Tullamore 10 June

Over 50 attendees participated in discussions and decisions taken during the International Peat Congress in Tullamore. The Commission nominated Gerald Schmilewski for a second term as Chairman of the Commisison. At the meeting, the current Secretary of Commission II, Nick van de Griendt, was reappointed for another year. At the EB meeting later on that week Gerald Schmilewski was confirmed as Chairman of Commission II.

The final Commission II Peat Production Survey was sent out prior to the Tullamore meeting. This survey questionnaire will be distributed every year after the production season. It will be the basis for industrial fees in the future.

As a tradition at Commission II meetings, one national representative volunteers to give a presentation on the peat industry in her/his country. In Tullamore, Anna Sycheva-Mikhailova reflected on the status of the peat industry in Russia.

With the support of its own and with the help of many Commission II members, CoConcept was able to finalize its study on the “Socio-economic impact of the peat and growing media industry on horticulture in the EU”. The complete study, commissioned by EPAGMA, the European Peat and Growing Media Association, can be downloaded at www.epagma.org. 

In March 2008, IPS and EPAGMA agreed to go ahead with the preparation of a “Project Plan for the Development of an International Certification Scheme for Sustainable Peatland Management”. The Finnish company INDUFOR was commissioned by IPS to carry out this task.

The Project Plan was then presented during the Peat Congress in Tullamore prior to the Commission II meeting. The presentation of the Project Plan led to intense debate within Commission II. This resulted in the Commission II proposal to organize a workshop on certification. This workshop was held in Helsinki on 19 November.

Commission II meeting in Helsinki,19 November

Due to the significance and possible consequences of such a certification system for all stakeholders, and the industry in particular, the IPS Executive Board and the IPS Scientific Advisory Board participated in the workshop. The intense discussions during the workshop as well as the subsequent EB and SAB meetings in Jyväskylä on 20 and 21 November resulted in an “IPS Proposal regarding the Certification of Peatlands”. Based on this proposal it is basically up to the industry to decide on and subsequently finance such a project if agreed.

Other business

Supporting the members of the Terminology WG set up by IPS and IMCG in 2007 some individual members of Commission II are involved in helping to define selected terms and concepts – a task which has proven not to be easy.

The events calender of Commission II shows also an ISHS/IPS Symposium on Growing Media and Composting which will take place in Charlotte, USA, from 1 - 5 June 2009. IPS Commission II is a co-sponsor of the event.

The Dutch SympoPeat/IPS Commission II Symposium ‘Peat in Horticulture - Life in Growing Media’ (working title) was postponed by one year and will take place in the Netherlands in June 2010.

Commissions II and V have been asked by the local Canadian Organizing Committee of the symposium on “Sustainability of peatland management and growing media production” to join in the committee’s efforts by supporting this event, to be held in 2011.


Annual Report 2007

As in the past, peat production and use for horticultural and energy purposes comprise the main fields of activity of Commission II. Discussions on the balance between peat production, environmental issues and alternative materials have been the main topics.

Commission II held two meetings in 2007. On 8 May 31 attendees came together in Riga, Latvia. The second meeting was held on 12 October in Amsterdam. The work conducted by the Commission and other achievements made during 2007 are summarized below.

Riga Meeting

At the Commission meeting in Riga, Magnus Brandel gave a report on the use of peat in Sweden in which he explained its highly accepted use as an energy source and that latest findings proved that combustion of peat with wood was more efficient than wood alone. Guus van Berckel drew attention to developments in Germany where the Federal Emmissions Law regulates the fuel types that can be used and the emmissions that these cause in small-firing installations like home furnaces.

It was confirmed at the Riga meeting that all country reports shall be published in Peatlands International.

Based on the IPS Internal Regulation and in cooperation with the IPS Secretariat, Commission II is seeking a purposeful tool for collecting peat production data as the basis for the industrial membership fee. The industrial membership fee is an important part of the total IPS budget.

Amsterdam Meeting

At the Commission meeting in Amsterdam, Hein Boon gave a report on the growing media industry and horticulture in the Netherlands. He emphasized the need to use qualified constituents only. These can include materials like coir, woodfibres and composts. Peat, however, is still the most reliable constituent in a highly technicalized industry. Furthermore, in Amsterdam the IPS peat production survey was presented and discussed for further development.

As a result of a discussion on bulk peat transportation on trucks stowed in the under deck space of ships, Nick van de Griendt and Gerry Hood of Commission II will make a proposal to the International Maritime Organization on how to ship peat in bulk in a safer way in order to avoid hazards caused by electical installations.

A number of peat-related events took place in 2007 which were attended by members of Commission II and reported on during the meeting:

International Symposium on Growing Media in Nottingham

From 2 - 8 September 2007 and for the second time, IPS Commission II had the opportunity to join the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) in organizing a symposium on growing media. As in Angers in 2005, Commission II representatives, scientists and experts from industry engaged in a Peat in Horticulture Day which was embedded in a whole week of lectures, posters and excursions. Only peat-related topics were tackled that day. The chairman of Commission II gave an invited oral presentation on ‘Growing Media used in the EU’. That paper was based on answers to specific questions sent out as a questionnaire. In the afternoon, a workshop on microbiological aspects of growing media, prompted by Commission II, proved very successful, attracting much discussion and debate.

Over 100 participants from 32 countries attended the event, of which about 20 percent were from the peat and growing media industry and another 20 percent from ancillary industries – figures never reported to be so high before. This mix of science and industry is appreciated by both sides.

The conveneror of the next biannual ISHS symposium on growing media in North Carolina asked for the support of IPS Commission II. Commission II promised their support by organizing another day on Peat in Horticulture.

Survey on materials used for growing media production

At its meeting in Amsterdam, Commission II mandated the HOPE WG to conduct a new survey on the amounts of materials used for the production of growing media in Europe. Such a survey was carried out by the WG once before in 2002 and resulted in an often quoted publication by Claes Bohlin of the Commission. The results of this new study formed the basis for the presentation given by the chairman of Commission II in Nottingham during the ISHS/IPS symposium on growing media. The data received were also presented in part at the conference on ‘Peat and Peatlands 2007’ in Lamoura, France in October. The data show that peat is by far the most commonly used growing media in the EU and that peat free media play a very subordinate role.The use of materials other than peat is increasing in some countries. The survey also showed new interesting data, i.e. the fact that Italy, having no indigenous peat resources, is second to Germany in the production of growing media.

The data will be published in the proceedings of the Nottingham symposium (see above).

IMCG/IPS Meeting in Sweden

Several representatives of Commission II participated in the joint IPS/IMCG meeting in June which took them to interesting peatland sites and facilities of peat use for the production of growing media and peat combustion. The Commission would like to extend its sincere thanks to the head organizers Marie Kofod-Hansen of Torvforsk and Magnus Brandel of the Swedish Association Torvproducenterna. Differences in opinion on various topics were acknowledged. A small contribution to help overcome some of these differences is to use common definitions for certain peat- and peatlands-related terms. It was decided that a small working group would be appointed to develop definitions of some relevant terms or concepts with policy implication that have caused misunderstandings. The group is to make a short report at the Peat Congress in Tullamore.

Outlook

Annual Report 2006

As in the past, peat production and use for horticultural and energy purposes comprise the main subjects of activity of Commission II. Discussions on the balance between peat production, environmental issues and alternative materials have been the main topics.

Meetings

Commission II held two meetings in 2006. On 8 May, 32 attendees came together in Hanover, Germany. At this meeting, Gerald Schmilewski of the growing media producer Klasmann-Deilmann GmbH, Germany, was elected as new Chairman of Commission II, succeeding Donal Clarke, who is greatly thanked for his guidance and positive impact within the commission over the past years.

Bruno Berken of the French CAS was nominated as new Coordinator of the HOPE Working Group, succeeding Gerald Schmilewski. Unfortunately, in December 2006 Bruno Berken left the CAS and with that the position of Coordinator remains vacant.

The second meeting of Commission II with 23 participants was held on 29 October in Amsterdam in conjunction with the annual HortFair and the Peat in Horticulture symposium. Both Commission Working Groups (Horticultural WG and Energy Peat WG) gave reports at the meetings, the contents of which are summarized below together with other main activities of Commission II.

The next meeting of Commission II will be held at the end of May 2007 in Riga.

Statistics on Peat Production

The European Peat and Growing Media Association (EPAGMA) has engaged Paul Waller Consulting (UK) to conduct a survey on the “Socioeconomic impact of the peat and growing media industry on horticulture in the EU”. A group of experts within Commission II helped finalize the questionnaire needed to obtain the essential data on peat and growing media production in the EU. A number of Commission II members will also fill out the questionnaire and support the accomplishment of this very important study which will give decision makers and all interest groups up-to-date information on the growing media industry and its importance to the professional horticulture and hobby markets in the EU.

Survey on materials used for growing media production

At their Amsterdam meeting, Commission II mandated the HOPE WG to conduct a new survey on the amounts of materials used for the production of growing media in Europe. Such a survey was carried out by the WG once before, in 2002, and resulted in an often quoted publication by Claes Bohlin. The results of this new study will also be published and basic data from it will be included in the EPAGMA study.

Industry reports by country

At the Commission meetings in 2006, Hartmut Falkenberg from Germany and Pat Fitzgerald from Ireland gave reports on the peat industry in their countries. Due to the strong interest in this topic, it was decided at the second Commission meeting in Amsterdam to publish these and all following reports on the industry regularly in the IPS magazine Peatlands International.

Peat in Horticulture symposium, Amsterdam

For the fifth time since 1997, the Dutch foundation “Sympo-Peat” together with the HOPE WG organized a symposium on Peat in Horticulture. This event was subtitled “Peat in the Stranglehold of Interest Groups”. Some 90 participants listened to 11 oral presentations given by speakers from 7 countries. The main session dealt with peat extraction and legislation. Furthermore there were lectures on global warming and climate change, restoration, Wise Use of peat in horticulture, eco-labelling and peatering out in the UK.

Common interests between IPS and ISHS

After the very successful collaboration in preparing and realizing the first joint symposium of the ISHS (International Society for Horticultural Science)and the IPS in Angers, France in 2005, Commission II is once again actively supporting the organization of the second joint international symposium on growing media in Nottingham, United Kingdom. One day devoted to peat-related topics will be embedded in a week (2 - 8 September 2007) of lectures and posters on chemical, physical and biological properties of growing media, materials other than peat, the retail market, excursions and other areas of interest.

Eco-labelling

Several members of growing media organizations and members of Commission II were actively involved in revising the old and establishing new criteria for the award of an eco-label for soil improvers and growing media. Commission II regrets that the EU Commission took the position of not allowing a certain percentage of peat in eco-labelled growing media.

IMCG/IPS meeting in Espoo, Finland

A number of representatives of Commission II participated in the joint IPS/IMCG meeting in July in Espoo, Finland. The meeting proved most useful for both sides, as, for instance, that the interpretation of the “Wise Use” approach can be seen from various points of view. Commission II strongly supports the future cooperation of both organizations with the objective of better mutual understanding.

Annual Report 2005

Commission II held two full meetings in 2005. The first of these was held on 9 May 2005 in Warsaw with 19 attendees. The principal items discussed included some updates on relevant matters, information on Ramsar matters relevant to industry, reports of the HOPE and energy peat working groups, and an update on WWF campaigns against peat in Germany and Austria. The second meeting took place on 8 September in Angers with twenty four participants. The principal matters which arose included reports on the CSPMA in Canada and on issues for the peat industry in Latvia, a report on the implications for industry of a boreal forest initiative in Canada and initial harvest reports for 2005.

Horticultural Peat Working Group

The HOPE WG was active during the year and the following were among its activities.

1. Eco-labelling:
In 2005 and during the first months of 2006 the criteria for the award of an EU ecolabel were revised. In a letter of 26 August the HOPE WG took a strong position on the admission of peat in eco-labelled growing media clearly pointing out the need to include peat in growing media to guarantee good product performance. More EU Competent bodies voted for the inclusion of peat, but due to a vote blocking minority  it was decided to prolong the exclusion of peat in growing media (and soil improvers).

2. International ISHS/IPS Symposium on Growing Media in Angers, France:
Together with the Commission Plant Substrates of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) the HOPE WG organized a symposium on growing media from 4-10 September. The event included a special one-day “Wise Use of Peat in Horticulture” program focusing solely on the use of peat. More than 200 experts attended the sessions, discussed posters and participated in excursions. Several members of the HOPE WG were members of the Scientific Committee responsible for the contents of the papers to be published in the proceedings. This event was a major success.

3. Cooperation between IPS and ISHS in organizing symposia:
Based on the initiative taken in 2005 by the HOPE WG to organize symposia together, the Presidents of the IPS and the ISHS signed an agreement to have both organizations co-organize international symposia on growing media. The plans for the next ISHS/IPS symposium is already scheduled to be in September 2007 in Nottingham, England.

4. Peat in Horticulture – In the Stranglehold of Interest Groups:
That is the title of the next symposium in the series of “Peat in Horticulture” symposia. The HOPE WG is responsible for setting up the scientific program and editing the paper manuscripts for the proceedings. Plans and first organizational meetings started in 2005.

5. International Labelling:
The European Peat And Growing Media Association (EPAGMA) has developed a set of International Labelling criteria for pre-packed growing media. The HOPE WG fully supports this initiative and also made detailed technical comments on the labelling. The International. Labelling will be based on European Standards. All EPAGMA members have agreed to use the International Labelling on prepacked growing media.

6. Nomenclature:
The HOPE WG is planning to define a list of peat-related terms as standard vocabulary which could be used by peat experts, ISHS-scientists, peat producers, etc. to overcome misunderstandings in publications and elsewhere.

Energy Peat Working Group

Part of the Energy Peat Working Group met during a seminar on Peatlands and Climate Change in Helsinki on 31 January 2006.

Conclusion

As this is my last report as Chairman of Commission II, I would like to thank all those who have supported me during my period of office, in particular the Secretariat, the members of the Steering Committee, and the Chairmen of the two Working Groups.

Donal Clarke

Annual Report 2004

This Commission II Report covers the period from the Tampere Congress until June 2005. A very active Commission II presence in Tampere, which included a joint IPS-IMCG seminar on Wise Use, culminated in the adoption of a Strategy for Commission II at the Meeting of the Commission in Tampere. This strategy was aimed at maximising the impact of the work of Commission II while avoiding duplication with other bodies such as National Peat Producers’ Associations and EPAGMA.

A further meeting of the Commission took place in Amsterdam on 2 November 2004 which dealt with important issues including co-operation on the Ramsar CCGAP (Global Action on Peatlands), industrial fees, and the preparation of a paper on the economic importance of the horticulture industry based on peat. This latter topic has now been undertaken by EPAGMA.

The Commission would like to express its sincere condolences on the death of Wim Tonnis, an active member of the Commission, to his family and the Dutch National Committee.

Annual Report 2003

MThis report covers the period since my last report, dated 5 March 2003, to the Annual Assembly which took place in Dublin in May 2003.

Meetings of the Commission

There have been two meetings of the Commission since my last report. The first was on 3 November 2003 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The second was on 25 February 2004 in Tampere, Finland

Meetings of the Steering Committee

Two meetings of the Steering Committee took place during the period, on 3 November 2003 in Amsterdam and on 25 February 2004 in Tampere. The main function of the Steering Committee is to prepare for meetings of the Commission.

Energy Peat Working Group

The Energy Peat Working Group, which advises the Commission on matters related to the energy peat industry met on 3 November 2003 in Amsterdam.

Meetings of the Horticultural Peat Working Group

The Working Group met on 3 November 2003 in Amsterdam. Dr M Prasad represented Commission II at a meeting on Biowaste in Brussels in January 2004 and Dr Schmilewski made a submission to the EU on the subject on behalf of the Working Group in February 2004.

Strategy

At its meeting in Tampere the Commission considered its activities and those of the IPS in general in the context of the draft Strategy being developed by the Executive Board. The Committee agreed that it should avoid duplicating activities being carried out by other industrial bodies; should support the research activities of the IPS in general, with the Commission’s own concentration being on research into the uses of peat for horticulture, energy and other commercial purposes; should support the IPS’ activities in the exchange of information, with the Commission’s own concentration being on exchange of information on best practices in peat extraction, peat uses, restoration of peatlands, and after-use of peatlands, in collaboration with the other relevant Commissions.
As regards the IPS as a whole, the Commission felt that it should concentrate on its areas of strength; continue to provide publications and materials in support of the activities of members and of other organisations; and maintain contact with environmental bodies on behalf of IPS members.
In regard to structuring the IPS for the future, the Commission was in favour of strengthening the links between itself and the work of other Commissions by means of the new structure which the President later set out in his letter of 22 March 2004. In this context the Commission undertook to explicitly seek the continued support of industry for the strategy and future activities of the IPS.

Joint IPS/IMCG meeting

An IPS/IMCG meeting took place in Amsterdam on 2 November 2003. The meeting was attended by a number of Commission II members. The principal matters discussed included the marketing of the Wise Use book, the possibility of certification of peat and peatlands, and co-operation between the two organisations on a wide variety of activities.

Presentation of the Wise Use Book and Process to the European Commission

On Thursday 11 December 2003 Mr D Clarke (IPS), Dr H Joosten, DR J Sliva and Mr R Lindsay (IMCG) presented the Wise Use book to the European Commission which was represented by Mr Michael Hammel (DGENV-Agriculture) and Dr Michael O’Briain (DGENV-Nature Protection). Dr Joosten made a presentation outlining the process which had resulted in the book, and some of the information and key concepts in the book. The Commission representatives expressed a keen interest in the process and the book, and a lively question-and-answer session took place. The Commission representatives undertook to bring the book and the contents of the presentation to the attention of all the relevant Commission services.

The “DVD Project”

At the Commission II meeting in Manchester in May 2002 it was agreed that the Commission would support the compilation of an information pack on peat and peatlands in the form of a DVD which would follow the tone and format of the “Wise Use” project. The DVD is now ready for distribution. I would like to pay tribute to Raimo Sopo for his excellent work in support of this project, and to all the members of the steering group who put a great deal of effort into the project.

Conclusion

I would like once again to thank all those who have participated in Commission II meetings and in meetings of the Steering Committee and all those who have done voluntary work for the Commission and its Working Groups.
I would like in particular to thank
- Gerald Schmilewski for his work as Chairman of the HOPE Working Group;
- Nick van de Griendt for his work as vice-Chairman of the Commission;
- Alan Shaw for his work as Secretary of the Commission;
- Charles Shier for his contribution as Chairman of the Energy Peat Working Group;
- Raimo Sopo and Susann Warnecke for the constant and efficient support of the Secretariat; and
- Gerry Hood, our President, for his continuing support and advice.
 

Annual Report 2002

Meetings of the Commission

There have been two meetings of the Commission since my last report, dated 28 March 2002. The first was on 26 May 2002 in Manchester, England. The Commission was briefed on the EU Mining Waste Directive and the EU Green Paper on Energy Security. It also discussed the UK decision to designate working bogs (Thorne, Hatfield and Wedholme) as Special Areas of Conservation (an EU designation). The second meeting, on 4 September 2002 in Pärnu, Estonia, took the form of a briefing on the work of the Commission for colleagues attending the Pärnu Horticulture Symposium. On 3 September 2002, a group of Commission II members hosted a dinner for peat producers from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to brief them on international peat producers’ activities.

Meetings of the Steering Committee

One meeting of the Steering Committee took place during the period, on 25 May 2002 in Manchester. The main function of the Steering Committee is to prepare for meetings of the Commission.

Meetings of the Energy Peat WG

The Energy Peat Working Group, which advises the Commission on matters related to the energy peat industry, met on 13 April 2002 in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Meetings of the HOPE WG

The Horticultural Peat Working Group met on 3 September 2002 in Pärnu, Estonia. Among the items discussed were workshops on EN methods and on peat quality; the collection of data on growing media constituents; environmental issues; and the EU Mining Waste Directive.

Pärnu Symposium

From 3 to 6 September 2002 a symposium entitled "Peat in Horticulture – Quality and Environmental Challenges" took place in Pärnu, Estonia. The Symposium was jointly sponsored by Commission II and Commission V. The Symposium was attended by nearly 300 delegates, the majority of whom came from the peat industry, including representatives of companies from 16 countries. As the symposium is dealt with elsewhere in the IPS Annual Report all I will say here is that it was a great success and the organisers deserve our thanks and appreciation.

Wise Use

The book "Wise Use of Mires and Peatlands - Background and Principles including a Framework for Decision-making" was jointly launched by the IMCG and the IPS on 20 November 2002 in Valencia, Spain. Members of Commission II were among the contributors to the book and participants in the joint IMCG-IPS meetings. The book has since been widely distributed, has been presented to Government Ministers in Canada, Finland and Ireland and has been reviewed in "The Irish Times", the "Bale Mail" and on the Ramsar website.

Global Peatland Initiative

I addressed a Global Peatland Initiative Side Event to the 6th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity on 17 April 2002 in The Hague on the Wise Use project. Together with Dr. Joosten I addressed a Global Peatland Initiative Side Event to the 8th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar) on 20 November 2002 in Valencia at the launch of the Wise Use book.

Joint IPS/IMCG Meeting

An IPS/IMCG meeting took place on 20 November 2002 in Valencia, Spain which was attended by a number of Commission II members. The meeting discussed the distribution of the Wise Use book and reviewed how the two organisations can continue to work together in the future for their mutual advantage.

International Peat Producers' Association

I am periodically asked what happened to the IPPA which was formed after the Uppsala Congress. It was subsequently merged with Commission II on the understanding that Commission II would carry on the tasks of the IPPA as well as support the other activities of the IPS. Industry members of the IPS make an additional contribution to support this IPPA work.

DVD Project

At the Commission II meeting in Manchester in May 2002 it was agreed that the Commission would support the compilation of an information pack on peat and peatlands. This pack would take the form of a DVD and would follow the tone and format of the "Wise Use" project. A deadline of June 2004 was set for completing the project and a budget of € 150,000 over three years (2002, 2003 and 2004) was set. A division of this expenditure between peat companies and their associations was agreed.

Conclusion

I would like once again to thank all those who have participated in Commission II meetings and in meetings of the Steering Committee and all those who have done voluntary work for the Commission and its Working Groups. I would like in particular to thank Gerald Schmilewski for his work as Chairman of the HOPE Working Group and his joint editing of the proceedings of the Pärnu symposium; Nick van de Griendt for his work as vice-Chairman of the Commission and as General Secretary of the Pärnu symposium; Alan Shaw for his work as Secretary of the Commission; Charles Shier for his contribution as Chairman of the Energy Peat Working Group; Raimo Sopo and Susann Warnecke for the constant and efficient support of the Secretariat; and Gerry Hood, our President, for his continuing support and advice.

 

FNS