Speaker presentations

Luss Hills © Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

Speaker presentations

Rural Economy and Peatlands - Tuesday 2nd October

The opening session included a welcome from each host organisation and set the scene for discussing public benefit provision in relation to sustainable peatland management, communities and economy.


A policy framework to support rural economy and deliver peatland benefits

This session explored how we account for public benefits and reward their provision through either the public purse or private investment.


The role of the food and drink in sustainable environments

This session provided examples of how peatlands benefit business – with a focus on the food and drink sector. This was an opportunity for businesses to talk about how they use the upland environment as both a source of their produce and in their branding and marketing. It explored what the key considerations are in successfully promoting produce – a valued public benefit of peatlands – and how the objectives of food and drink provision can link with sustainable peatland management and reach the public.


Evaluating public attitudes to peatlands

This session provided an opportunity to explore why public attitudes are important – why do we care that people care about peatlands? Updates on research carried out on public attitudes and opinions in relation to peatlands, and their perception of the public benefits that they provide, were presented to spark discussion.  

The importance of local community in a thriving and sustainable environment

This session provided an opportunity to gather together and highlight the tools which are used to engender volunteer and public support at a local level. Presentations showcased how engaging volunteers and using public help efficiently can benefit bogs and people.

Local community groups shared their experiences of their local peatlands including: why they got involved; how they try to inspire others to get involved and the challenges they have faced. These recollections illustrated what’s special about their patch of peat and how their involvement is crucial in its survival.


Quantifying peatland benefits

This session explored recent research work into the economic values placed on public benefits provided by peatlands and other habitats, and how these can be used to support their restoration and good management. It also provided a window into what public benefits private investors place a value on, and why they are interested in paying for restoration and conservation.


Public Engagement - Wednesday 3rd October

Making peatland tourism work

This session included a series of short presentations from organisations at the forefront of visitor engagement on peatlands – focussing on the recreational, cultural and wellbeing benefits they provide.


Phasing out peat: progress to date

This session provided updates on the progress made towards phasing out peat with examples from businesses and NGO’s including their key public communication messages, successes so far and ambitions to continue to drive progress.

Background: Defra introduced a voluntary target for amateur gardeners to phase out peat use by 2020 and a final phase out of 2030 for professional growers of fruit, vegetables and plants. This commitment was reaffirmed in Defra’s recent 25 Year Environment Plan, with a promise to look at introducing further measures if sufficient progress towards using peat alternatives has not been made by 2020. Scottish Government has also identified phasing out the horticultural use of peat as a priority in its work plan through the National Peatland Group.

With 2020 rapidly approaching, this session will shed light on the progress made towards meeting these targets and future work planned.


Inspiring people in our natural environment using history

Peatlands have many stories to tell – from archaeological Bronze Age discoveries to unveiling environmental records that reveal past climate change. This session shed a light on some of the key moments in our peatlands history and consider how these stories can be used to engage with a different audience.


Conservation and Land Management - Thursday 4th October

The Bigger Picture: International Perspective, UK Peatland Strategy and Country Highlights

This final plenary put the UK’s peatland work into a global context, with an introduction to the work of the Global Peatlands Initiative (GPI), of which the IUCN are a member. With a remit to save the world’s largest terrestrial organic carbon stock, and contribute to the delivery of several Sustainable Development Goals, the GPI has been actively promoting the peatland cause in countries with some of the largest extent of peatland. This session also looked at the strategic actions on peatlands being taken by countries around the world.

This session also provided a brief overview of the UK Peatland Strategy for those new to it and gave each of the four countries an opportunity to update delegates on the progress against each of the six goals set out in the strategy as well as highlights from national level plans. Speakers also identified steps being taken to enable reporting against the key goals.


Provision of public benefits from sustainable land management. 

Land managers from different sectors provided their perspective on the public benefits that well managed peatlands can provide and how their work contributes to the provision of these. Speakers reflected on where the win-win opportunities lie to meet land management goals as well as peatland benefits - and what further support is need to enhance these opportunities.


The Practicalities: Setting up a large-scale restoration programme (working title)

Peatland Action and Yorkshire Peat Partnership shared their experiences of setting up large-scale restoration programmes, with a look at both the successes, but also challenges along the way and how these have been dealt with.


State of UK peatlands and monitoring

Our ability to report on progress in delivering peatland objectives is vital not only to allow assessment and reporting against national and international targets such as climate change, and biodiversity but also to demonstrate that our investment in peatlands is providing quantifiable benefits.

The working group behind the Commission of Inquiry Update reports on the State of UK Peatlands and Biodiversity shared their findings in this session along with updates on monitoring progress from JNCC and insight into a new IUCN UK PP initiative ‘Eyes on the Bog’ aimed at providing long term monitoring of peatland sites.


Peatland restoration – tools for the future.

A broad pool of resources, skills and expertise will be required to enable the UK to continue to deliver the extensive peatland restoration needed in future. This session provided an opportunity for the peatland community to discuss what materials and training support is needed by existing and new practitioners to achieve best-practice peatland conservation now and in the future. 

What are the peatland restoration challenges that need to be resolved? What and where are the conflicting views and how do we resolve these as a community? 

This workshop started with a quick introduction to the Conserving Bogs handbook, available online and the restoration training courses being set up by the IUCN UK Peatland Programme.

  • Conserving Bogs: An update - Tim Thom, Yorkshire Peat Partnership
  • Peatland Training Courses - Richard Lindsay, University of East London [Coming Soon]


Managing at a catchment-scale

Led by the working group behind the Commission of Inquiry Update report on Peatland Catchments, this session will reveal the findings of the report.

  • Findings of the Commission of Inquiry Update - Tim Allott, University of Manchester 


Innovation in peatland restoration

As a common funding requirement and necessary way to address new challenges this session focussed on sharing innovation to support conservation.

Peatland Action shared some of the innovative solutions they have come up with to address challenging restoration scenarios in Scotland. The speakers covered upland and lowland habitats as well as including techniques from the forestry and renewables sector.


Planning for the future: land management and climate change

This session focussed on climate change as one of the major drivers for peatland conservation and restoration with an update on the science around peatlands and carbon, and their role in relation to climate change.  Speakers also explored the response needed to a changing climate looking at how we can adapt lowland agriculture as well as the latest policy thinking around climate change adaptation and how this relates to peatlands generally.