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MILJØFORSK-Miljøforskning for en grønn samfunnsomstilling

REPEAT - REthinking sustainable land use of PEATland

Alternative title: REPEAT -utvikling av kunnskap og metoder for en bærekraftig forvaltning av myr i Norge

Awarded: NOK 16.7 mill.

The climate and biodiversity crises show that we need a national, knowledge-based management of peatlands. REPEAT – REthinking sustainable land use of PEATlands will combine hard data on peatland carbon stocks and restoration to develop new knowledge about sustainable planning and management, for dissemination among public authorities, experts, and the general public. Unsustainable land use, climate change and biodiversity loss are three interlinked issues threatening all life on Earth. Knowledge-based peatland management can play an important role here, since intact peatlands represent huge carbon stocks and important biodiversity reservoirs. Despite years of peatland research in Norway, we still lack fundamental methods. We need effective monitoring methods to determine peatland extent and depth. Furthermore, we restore previously degraded peatlands without knowing how effective our restoration measures really are. The peatland management itself include substantial incongruities: peatland degradation is forbidden for agricultural purposes, but allowed for development of roads, renewable energy and cabins. For wind power development, the existing obligations to restore peatlands after concession period appears unclear. In REPEAT, experts, public authorities, and stakeholders will develop new knowledge for sustainable planning and management of peatlands. Using three projects as examples, we explore how to balance development of roads, renewable energy and cabins against carbon stock and biodiversity considerations. Development of novel methods for peatland mapping, carbon stock estimation, and restoration will be based on existing and new data from four other sites. Insights from the project will be made available for management, research, and the general public, through learning materials. REPEAT aims to develop tools for sustainable planning and management of peatlands that consider human needs without compromising environmental limits, now and in the future.

Unsustainable land use, climate change and biodiversity loss are three interlinked issues threatening ecosystem functioning and services for human society, and they need to be solved to avoid irreversible and detrimental impacts on the environment supporting all life on Earth, including mankind. Peatland ecosystems have been recognised for their huge carbon stocks and as important biodiversity reservoirs, but are nevertheless degraded for various infrastructure development purposes, with increasing frequency. This unsustainable land use leads to substantial carbon emissions, as well as dramatic reductions in biodiversity, thus resulting in a loss of ecosystem services to human society. REPEAT – Rethinking sustainable land use of peatlands will support development of sustainable land use of peatlands. This interdisciplinary collaborative project links sorely needed “hard data” on carbon stocks and improved methods for ecological restoration directly to a socio-economical understanding of planning, decision-making and development processes in peatlands. Our point of departure is a set of strategically selected development projects, in which we explore how carbon stock and biodiversity concerns are balanced against the need for development of cabins, roads, and renewable energy. Moreover, we investigate how restoration of degraded peatlands can balance losses from infrastructure development and thus contribute to sustainable area management. REPEAT aims to inform peatland land use with respect to balancing human needs for infrastructure development (roads, cabins, and renewable energy), now and in the future, without compromising environmental limits. In this way, the project supports the development of general concepts for genuinely sustainable area management.

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MILJØFORSK-Miljøforskning for en grønn samfunnsomstilling