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1.01.02 - Peatland forest science

About Unit

The Peatland Forest Science Unit considers the ecology, management and restoration of forested peatlands or wetlands.  Areas of special importance are on the sustainable management, the effects of climate change and the carbon balance, and functional restoration.  The Unit seeks to enhance the exchange of information and experiences to effect the wise us of the peatland resources.  In addition to supporting the normal scientific information exchange through meetings, the Unit also plans to encourage networking to further international collaboration, enhance the delivery of information through the internet, and serve as means for networking.

Those who wish to be added to the mailing list of the Working Party are welcome to contact Raija Laiho at raija.laiho(at)

State of Knowledge

Peatlands and are an exceptionally important part of the forest landscape. Globally, peatlands occupy a less than 3% of the surface of the earth yet they contain approximately 20-25% of the terrestrial carbon pool.  Additionally, these lands are critically important for wildlife habitat, sustainable water supplies, and forest products.  Understanding how to manage these lands in a way that sustains their important ecological functions and societal values is important challenge globally.  Some peatlands have been impacted by poor agriculultural and silvicultural practices, developing the technologies for functional restoration is a priority.  Finally, peatlands are threatened by global change, especially changes in precipitation regimes, pollution, urbanization and fragmentation.  Peatlands can only be effectively managed when considered within the context of the landscape, more effective modelling tools are needed.