Action: Pay landowners to protect peatlands
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One study evaluated the effects on peatland habitats of paying landowners to protect them. The study was of bogs.
- Peatland habitat (1 study): One review from reported that agri-environment schemes in the UK had mixed effects on bogs, protecting the area of bog habitat in three of six cases.
Landowners could be paid to protect natural, vegetated peatlands and the benefits they provide (e.g. carbon storage). Landowners may be paid to protect pristine peatlands. Where necessary, they may be paid to actively manage areas to maintain or restore peatlands. Thus, many payment schemes also protect the peatland resource as a whole. Payments could be made directly or as tax incentives, could be paid as cash or as alternative lands, and could come from governments, non-governmental organizations or private sponsorship. Payments should be supported by advice, monitoring and enforcement.
Examples of payment schemes relevant to peatlands include the Bio-Rights programme (van Eijk & Kumar 2009), the UK Peatland Code and the German MoorFutures® voluntary carbon market (Bonn et al 2014) and nationally or internationally funded agri-environment schemes (Keenleyside & Moxey 2011).
This section considers the overall effects of payment schemes on peatland habitats (but excluding information on uptake only e.g. area of land managed under payment schemes, or number of people signed up). Effects of individual interventions performed under payment schemes are considered elsewhere.
Key peatland types for which this action may be appropriate: bogs, fens/fen meadows, tropical peat swamps.
Related action: adopt ecotourism principles/create an ecotourism site as a source of funding to protect natural peatlands.
Bonn A., Reed M.S., Evans C.D., Joosten H., Bain C., Farmer J., Emmer I., Couwenberg J., Moxey A., Artz R., Tanneberger F., von Unger M., Smyth M.-A. & Birnie D. (2014) Investing in nature: developing ecosystem service markets for peatland restoration. Ecosystem Services, 9, 54–65.
van Eijk P. & Kumar R. (2009) Bio-Rights in Theory and Practice. A Financing Mechanism for Linking Poverty Alleviation and Environmental Conservation. Wetlands International, Wageningen.
Keenleyside C. & Moxey A. (2011) Public Funding of Peatland Management and Restoration in the UK – a Review. Report to IUCN UK Peatland Programme, Edinburgh.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A 2008 review of agri-environment schemes in Scotland, UK (Boatman et al. 2008) reported mixed effects on the area of bog habitat. No statistical tests were carried out. In three of six areas, agri-environment schemes protected bog habitats. The area of bog increased more, or decreased less, than would be expected based on national trends on similar land. In the other three areas, agri-environment schemes did not protect bog habitats. Here, the area of bog decreased more, or increased less, than would be expected based on national trends in similar land. The review does not report details of the agri-environment schemes.