Peatland Fire Issues discussed at UN FCCC CoP9

PeatlandFire Issues discussed at UN FCCC CoP9
Peatlands and climate change: Carbon store or source?
UNFCCC COP9 – Side Event

6-8pm,2 December 2003, Milan, Italy
Presented by the Global Environment Centre, Wildlife Habitat Canada and WetlandsInternational

Published: 9 December 2003

FaizalParish, Global Environment Centre, presented an overview on peatlands andclimate change. Parish noted that peatlands occur in 150 countries, and thatCanada and the Russian Federation have the largest extent of peatlands. He saidpeatlands are important for forestry and biodiversity and play an important rolein the global carbon cycle, as at least 550 billion tonnes of terrestrial carbonis stored in the peatlands system.

 DavidCooper, UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, said thatcertain climate change mitigation and adaptation measures could have negativeimpacts on biodiversity. He concluded that: there is a clear opportunity toimplement mutually beneficial activities; these opportunities are rarelyrealized because of lack of coordination at national and international levels;and there is a range of tools available to help future coordination efforts.

Ed Wiken,Wildlife Habitat Canada, noted that peatlands contribute to domestic as well asinternational wildlife conservation and biodiversity goals. He explained aCanadian model used to predict sensitivity to climate change, noting that severeand very severe effects will occur on peatlands in the mid-belt of Canada.

YusRusila Noor, Wetlands International Asia Pacific, explained why peatlands areimportant in Indonesia, noting their linkages to biodiversity, climate change,hydrology and sustainable livelihoods. He identified the threats to Indonesianpeat swamp forests such as conversion of land, drainage, fires andoverexploitation. Noor highlighted Indonesia’s community approaches toreplanting, the debt-for-peatlands rehabilitation-swap, training to preventforest fires and restoring hydrology.

TatianaMinayeva, Wetlands International Russia, discussed peatlands and climate changein the Russian Federation. Minayeva noted that the UNFCCC does not adequatelyconsider peatlands, and expressed hope that this gap would be addressed. Sheindicated that the Russian Federation has a high diversity of peatlands, andthat agriculture is the main cause of peatland loss. She said more informationon the integrative ecosystem management approach was needed in her country.

DavidLee, Global Environment Centre, noted the existing networks for disseminatingand discussing information on peatlands, the Southeast Asia Peat Network andPEAT-Portal. He expressed the hope that these networks would provide a platformfor discussion on peatlands and climate change issues. Lee said awareness couldbe enhanced by use of the internet, collaborative networking and theestablishment of an e-community to exchange information and promote peatlands.

Discussion:Participants discussed possible global activities on wetlands and climate change,ways to combat illegal logging at the local level, the need to quantify globalpeatland emissions and the importance of relating peatlands to COP-9 issues,including methodologies for emissions, good practice guidance and cooperationwith other conventions.


Note:The Microsoft power point presentations of the side event and other relateddocuments can be downloaded from the Peat-Portal. However, due to the large sizeof some presentations, we would have to edit them before making them availableon the portal. As for information on other side events reported, please visitEarth Negotiation Bulletin – on the side at:

Followingthis side event, we will be also forming a discussion group on the issue ofpeatlands and climate change within the peat-portal, we welcome all members tobe a part of it. For further information, please contact:

Technical Officer
Global Environment Centre




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