The IUCN UK Commission of Inquiry on Peatlands has published its report (November 2011).
The report and summary of findings are available online at www.iucn-uk-peatlandprogramme.org/commission/findings (please cut and paste into your browser if you are having trouble accessing this link).
This report represents the culmination of 18 months of focused collaboration between peatland experts from land management, science and policy from across the UK, and reveals the enormous importance of our peatlands for people and wildlife.
It is of great concern that the Inquiry found that much of the UK’s peatlands have been damaged, with severe consequences for biodiversity and valuable ecosystem services. A significant amount of carbon is leaking into the atmosphere from drained and deteriorating peatlands. This is particularly alarming as a loss of only 5% of the carbon stored in peat would equate to the UK’s total annual green house gas emissions. On the other hand, healthy peatlands and those that have been restored and enhanced can make a positive contribution to tackling climate change.
The Inquiry has identified a clear strategy for action to bring our peatlands back from the brink, and points the way forward to avoid the social and environmental costs of further deterioration.
This report makes clear the multiple benefits of peatland conservation and restoration, particularly in relation to carbon savings, cleaner drinking water, wildlife conservation and historic archive preservation.
This has been an important collaborative exercise which reveals a strong community of interest in securing the future of our peatlands.
Original text: Press Release from IUCN Commission of Inquiry