Repeat represented at the European Peatland Conference ‘Power to the peatlands’ 2023

More than 500 researchers and stakeholders in nature management, agriculture, politics and business gathered in Antwerp to exchange knowledge and experiences in the field of peatland research. The range of contributions spanned carbon storage, restoration, management, policy, and more. On the last day of the conference, participants could join various guided field trips to gain insight into the natural values and the opportunities and pitfalls of peatland management.

The excursion to the Hautes-Fagnes nature reserve in eastern Belgium (the name means "the high fens") gave the participants an interesting insight into restoration of large areas of wet heaths, acidic fens, transition mires and raised bogs.

Three research fellows employed in the Repeat project — Ingrid, Julien, and Katinka — presented their work at the European Peatland Conference in Belgium, September 19th-21st.The conference culminated in a jointly produced declaration that highlighted the importance of peatlands for people, climate, and biodiversity, and the need for increased investment in the future restoration and protection of peatlands in Europe. Many of the recurring themes of the conference — such as the difficulty of returning a degraded peatland to its prior state, and the need to involve diverse stakeholders in peatland management — mirrored lines of inquiry in the Repeat project. 

The conference was an excellent arena to learn from the large body of peatland research conducted in Europe, to establish connections with researchers using similar methods, and to present results from our project thus far. 

Conference contributions from Repeat:

  • Ingrid Knutsdotter Koren (oral presentation): "Paradise lost? A critical analysis of representation and utilization of peatlands in Norway throughout time" 
  • Julien Vollering (poster presentation): "Wall-to-wall peat depth from ground-penetrating radar: lessons from two landscapes in Norway" (DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/ZV8DT) 
  • Katinka Vloon (oral presentation): "Restoration of a boreal ombrogenous mire: predicting time to recovery after ditch blocking" 

Keynote speaker Hans Joosten (Universität Greifswald, DE) highlighted the many ways in which peatlands connect to culture, often without their significance being fully recognized.

Keynote speaker Richard Lindsay (University of East London, UK) called for greater effort to synthesize and disseminate peatland knowledge, to repair the underrepresentation of peatlands in policy making.

Keynote speaker Kristiina Lång (Natural Resources Institute Finland, FI) presented the recent developments in the EU policy environment regarding the use and protection of peatlands and discussed possible turning points that promote change in both attitudes and use of peatlands.