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Photo Credit: Erik Paterson

Conference 2018

IUCN UK Peatland Programme 8th Conference
2nd – 4th October, Balloch, Scotland

What constitutes as a public benefit? How do we account for public benefits and/or reward those who provide them? How does provision of public benefit impact land management decision-making? These are some of the questions discussed – in the context of peatland management – at this year’s Peatland Connections: Building Prosperity Conference from the IUCN UK Peatland Programme, in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority.

With public benefit in mind, over the two and half days (2nd – 4th October) we explored innovative solutions to commonly faced issues around sustainable land management that delivers for people and the environment. We will also be investigating how healthy peatlands can support prosperous businesses and communities, whilst also receiving an update on the scientific findings of the Commission of Inquiry Update.

Peatland Connections: Building Prosperity

As is customary in this series of conferences, now in its 8th year, people from across sectors and disciplines convened to make connections old and new, sharing experience and knowledge. With a slightly different agenda, this year the opportunity to engage with potential investors was approached through the formal conference dinner and a focus on rural economy on Day One. A satellite programme provided by the Heather Trust with Scotland’s Rural College, and Scottish Natural Heritage to celebrate the Year of Young people with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, also helped engage with wider audiences building on connections with land managers and local communities.

In this time of change, an opportunity also exists to ensure the future of our peatlands – with new legislation and funding mechanisms in the melting pot. By engaging with the idea of managing for public benefit, we can ensure the prosperity of not only the peatland itself, but for the communities that live in and around it. This means providing a safe environment that stores carbon and provides clean drinking water. An attractive and peaceful environment that can be enjoyed by many, helping to improve the wellbeing of those that visit. It means land managers rewarded for looking after the land in a way that benefits society. It also means avoiding passing on rising costs of repairing damaged peatlands onto future generations. This year, the IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference engaged with topics from right across the spectrum of ‘public benefit’, whilst also ensuring the latest thinking in peatland restoration and conservation practice is shared.

A summary of the conference proceedings will be available soon. 

Key messages and presentations from the conference are available here:

Key messages

Speaker presentations

Poster presentations

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