This week, the IUCN UK Peatland Programme (IUCN UK PP) launched the Peatland Code at the World Forum for Natural Capital held in Edinburgh. The prestigious conference saw over 500 delegates from across the globe come together to discuss what natural capital was and how various tools could be applied to help stem the loss of our natural habitats and wildlife.
Peatlands, billed by Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, as "a good example of the fact that loss of ecosystems is a major contributor to climate change", were recognised throughout the conference as an important source of natural capital. Nicola Sturgeon added:
"For Scotland, losing just 1% of our peatland would release the same amount of carbon as an entire year of human activity. So instead of reducing our peatland, we're restoring it. Last year we restored just over 20 square miles. We spent approximately £5m on doing so.
"That spending would make no sense if you used conventional accounting methods. But if you focus on climate change, and use natural capital as a guide, it's one of the best investments we can make as a society."
Yet, with over 80% of UK peatlands in bad condition, the repair job required is a big one. However, with the introduction of the Peatland Code - a framework for businesses to support peatland restoraiton work - the IUCN UK PP are confident that their target of a million hectares restored by 2020 is achievable, through a combination of private and public funding. This is turn will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by millions of tonnes.
To find out more about the Peatland Code please visit our webpages, that explain in more details what the Code is and how to get involved.
The IUCN UK Peatland Programme would like to thank Yorkshire Water for sponsoring the event and to Mark Wilson from Interface Europe and Chris Woodley-Stewart from North Pennines AONB Partnership for their support during the launch event.