Experts gather in Aberystwyth to create lasting legacy for peatlands

An international conference to explore the valuable benefits peatlands provide for people and the natural environment will take place at Aberystwyth Arts Centre from 4-6 October 2022.

The 12th IUCN UK Peatland Programme (IUCN UKPP) conference will be the largest gathering of peatland specialists in over three years, bringing together 250 peatland scientists, conservationists, land managers and policymakers from the UK and beyond.

Here, Jake White from the LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs Project, tells us more about the conference and what delegates will be doing. 

As a project we are delighted to host the IUCN conference here in Aberystwyth, and we are looking forward to sharing our work – our achievements and challenges – with so many peatland specialists.

The LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs project will come to an end in March 2023 after over five years of work to restore lowland raised bogs across Wales.

To date, up to 80km of peat bunds have been installed to hold water back on the peatlands – keeping them wetter for longer and helping to store more carbon from the atmosphere.

In addition, approximately 92 hectares (almost 227 football pitches) of dense Molinia grass has been cut, which will open up the surface of the bog and allow important sphagnum moss to establish and thrive.

It has been a challenging few years for the project but we are pleased to share that we have surpassed our targets.

The conference will give delegates the opportunity to visit several of our project’s peatland sites in Ceredigion and further afield, such as Cors Caron National Nature Reserve, Cors Fochno (part of the Dyfi National Nature Reserve) and Cernydd Carmel near Crosshands.

The three-day programme will feature talks, discussions and field trips all designed to explore how a lasting legacy of healthy peatlands can be created across the UK.

As we’ve previously discussed peatlands in good condition can help in the fight against climate change, by enhancing eco-systems, and working with natural habitats and features to provide a range of benefits to people and the environment.

In a healthy condition peatlands store and filter water - reducing flooding downstream and providing clean drinking water; they are a carbon sponge - absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They are also homes for rare and important plants and wildlife and are great places to enjoy the natural environment.

With the majority of UK peatlands currently in a degraded state, these nature-based solutions are under threat. The challenge now is to restore our peatlands and ensure their long-term well-being.

One of the benefits of being part of the conference is that you have the opportunity to build collaborative partnerships between scientists, NGOs, businesses, land managers and Government.

It is a great place to find out what the UK countries (Wales, Northern Ireland, England, and Scotland) are doing to restore peatlands and learn about their specific strategies.

Wales and the rest of the UK are doing some great work towards peatland restoration and this conference is a great way to learn more and from each other on a wide range of topics.

The conference is sponsored by the LIFE for Welsh Raised Bogs project, and Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and run in partnership with the National Peatland Action Programme , Natural England's Marches Mosses BogLIFE and Pennine PeatLIFE

For more information about the work of the IUCN UK Peatland Programme visit:

The conference will be sharing live updates during the three days follow them on Twitter @IUCNpeat #PeatConf22

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