The first priority is to ensure the conservation of all remaining peatlands. Undrained peatlands provide many valuable ecosystem services. Halting expansion of peatland drainage will prevent the need for major investments for mitigating impacts of peatland degradation and repair. In support of this, we assess the status and trends of peatlands and their values, vulnerabilities and needs for protection. This information informs advocacy for improving policies and practices that prevent conversion and damage to valuable peatlands.
When peatlands are already drained, options for rewetting, conservation and alternative uses should be considered. There is no universal strategy to restore drained peatlands, as ecological and social conditions differ widely. However, restoration will always include rewetting and revegetation.
Since 2005 Wetlands International has supported peatland restoration projects in China, Russia, Belarus, Argentina, Kenya, South Africa, Malaysia and Indonesia, working with local communities to promote sustainable land use options. In China for example this involved rewetting thousands of hectares of high mountain peatland grasslands, and in Indonesia we were the first to pilot the large scale community-based restoration of severely degraded tropical peatlands. In Russia our pilot project supports the ecological rewetting of over 30,000 hectares to prevent fires, reduce emissions and restore biodiversity.
We seek opportunities for collaboration with more peat rich countries to help them conserve and restore these treasure troves, for people and for nature.