Keynotes

Prof. Dr. Hans Joosten

CV

Hans Joosten studied biology and worked as researcher and policy officer in the Netherlands. Since 1996 he leads the Department of Peatland Studies and Palaeoecology of Greifswald University (Germany), since 2008 as an Extraordinary Professor. A key topic of his research group is the development of paludiculture (a term he coined in 1998). In 2016 he, together with Wendelin Wichtmann and Christian Schröder, edited the first textbook about paludiculture. Hans Joosten is Secretary-General of the International Mire Conservation Group and since 2009 intensively involved in UNFCCC and IPCC, especially with respect to emissions from organic soils, and in FAO in advancing climate-responsible peatland management. In 2013 he was awarded the European CULTURA Prize for Sustainable Land Use, and the German Federal Research Award Sustainability for his project Vorpommern Initiative Paludiculture.

Keynote

The contribution of paludiculture to climate change mitigation and adaptation Globally, drained peatlands are responsible for 5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. In 50 countries drained peatlands emit > 10 %, in 25 countries even > 50 % compared to national emissions from fossil fuels and cement. Therefore, peatlands must play a major role in reaching the targets of the Paris Agreement. The root cause of peatland emissions lies in agriculture, which had its cradle in steppes and semi-deserts and consequently transforms mires into dry landscapes. The results are everywhere the same: gigantic greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of severe environmental damage. Sustainable utilisation of peatlands appears only to be possible under wet conditions. Paludiculture aims at reducing drainage-induced emissions, preserving the peat body as a sustainable base of production, while generating marketable products. The keynote gives an overview of climate change mitigation and adaptation perspectives in various parts of the world, discusses legal, political, and economic obstacles and challenges, and presents a way forward for the implementation of paludiculture as an important climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy.


Prof. Dr. Ab P. Grootjans

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Ab Grootjans worked at the University of Groningen between 1975 and 2016 and at the Radboud University Nijmegen between 2007 and 2017. His main field of expertise is eco-hydrology of wetlands. He dealt with projects ranging from eco-hydrological approaches on the landscape scale to very detailed research on the habitat scale. For example, he worked on the restoration of small dune wetlands along the Dutch and German coast and on developing new strategies for a more natural and dynamic coastal development. His work on the restoration of damaged peatlands helped improving restoration activities in various parts of the world including the former GDR, Slovakia, Latvia, Russia, Ireland, Tierra del Fuego, Japan, Australia and South Africa. He has also been active in the Dutch Knowledge network of researchers and managers (OBN) aimed at developing restoration projects in the Netherlands (1990-2015).

Keynote

Peatland restoration and paludiculture for clean and safe water The area of rewetted peatlands in Europe is still small, but increasing - mainly because agricultural and silvicultural use of many peatland areas is economical less interesting. In many EU countries the continuation of agricultural use in such areas is driven by subsidies. In other words, citizens that do not directly profit from the intensive drainage of wetlands are paying the bills. And the costs of maintaining agricultural use in drained peatlands are increasing due to subsidence of the peat soils. That is why in densely populated areas, such as in the Netherlands, such areas are now used to prevent flooding in cities due to more intensive rain events during summer. The effects of these global change initiated events can be reduced by storing large amounts of surface water in nature areas and in low-lying agricultural areas on peat. This calls for alternative use of such areas. Paludiculture is by far the most sensible thing to do; use these areas wet. However, new investments in infrastructure and in modern equipment to harvest these areas are urgently needed. I propose that money that is now spent on continuing the environmental unfriendly way of land use (subsidies to both farmers and nature protection agencies) has to be transferred to organisations and private companies that are willing to use peatlands in a more sustainable way.


Faizal Parish

CV

Faizal Parish has been the Director of the Global Environment Centre, a Malaysian non-profit organization working throughout East and Southeast Asia on forest and peatland management, biodiversity, water resources and climate change since 1998. He is originally from the UK but is currently a Malaysian Permanent Resident and has been living in Malaysia since 1983. He is a wetland ecologist with more than 30 years’ experience in assessment and management of peat swamp forests, mangroves and river systems. He has worked with the ASEAN Secretariat since 2000 to establish the ASEAN Peatland Management Initiative and ASEAN Peatland Management Strategy 2006-2020 (APMS) and the ASEAN Programme on Sustainable Management of Peatland Ecosystems 2014-2020 (APSMPE) – all key ASEAN initiatives to conserve peatland biodiversity and ecosystems. Faizal Parish has been actively working on peatland and biodiversity conservation in South East Asia since 1983, leading assessments of wetland biodiversity in many ASEAN Member States. He coordinated a global assessment on peatlands biodiversity and climate change in association with CBD from 2003-2008, andworked on restoration and management of peat swamp forests for more than 25 years . He was the Co-chair of the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Peatland Working Group (2009-2012) and developed the RSPO Manual on Best Management Practice for management and rehabilitation of natural vegetation associated with oil palm cultivation on peat. He is a member of the International Mire Conservation Group for more than 10 years.

Keynote

Climate-smart peatland use to improve livelihoods Globally large areas of peatland have been targeted for conversion to agriculture and intensive forestry activities which have been one of the main drivers for peatland degradation. Peat extraction for energy and horticulture is another significant but smaller scale use. In Southeast Asia, there used to be nearly 25 million ha of peatland which was naturally vegetated with diverse peat swamp forest with more than 250 species of trees many of which have significant socio-economic value. More than 70% of this peatland has been heavily exploited and degraded and large areas converted to monoculture plantations of Oil Palm and Acacia. Many areas have been cleared, drained and burnt but subsequently abandoned due to inappropriate land development approaches. Some 10-15 million ha of degraded peatland is found in the region with more than 4 million ha burnt repeatedly in recent years - constituting one of the most important sources of GHG emission globally. The rewetting and rehabilitation of these peatlands provides a major opportunity for expansion of paludiculture in the region. There are more than 50 species of tree that are potentially suitable to be cultivated in re-wetted peatlands - but large scale cultivation is still at a relatively early stage. The presentation will highlight initial progress and future opportunities and challenges for paludiculture in the region.