Action: Allow sustainable use of peatlands
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects, on peatland habitats, of allowing sustainable use.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this action during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore we have been unable to assess whether or not the action is effective or has any harmful impacts. Please get in touch if you know of such a study for this action.
‘Wise use’ of wetlands is one of the fundamental principles of the Ramsar Convention (Ramsar Convention Secretariat 2010). Allowing sustainable use of peatlands could give them an economic value, preventing their conversion to other land uses (e.g. agriculture, mining or urban development). Meanwhile sustainable use does not, by definition, damage the peatland: use can be sustained year after year. Reeds could be harvested sustainably from fens (Croon 2013), Sphagnum harvested from bogs and non-timber forest products (e.g. resin, latex, dyes, medicinal plants) harvested from tropical peat swamps. Sustainable use could complement other interventions e.g. pools created by blocking drainage canals could be used for fish farming (Suryadiputra et al. 2005).
This section considers the overall effects of allowing sustainable use of peatlands e.g. by granting licenses for long-term harvesting or requiring limited extraction of resources. In Australia, long-term Sphagnum harvesting licenses have been granted to encourage sustainable use (Whinam & Buxton 1997). In Indonesia, natural forest timber concessions are leased out on a long-term basis. Managers are obliged to maintain natural forest cover. Across all forest types (including some peat swamps), these concessions are as effective as strictly protected areas in preventing forest loss (Gaveau et al. 2013). Effects of individual interventions performed within sustainably managed peatlands are considered elsewhere.
Key peatland types where this action may be appropriate: bogs, fens/fen meadows, tropical peat swamps.
Related actions: mosaic management of agriculture or harvesting wild resources; provide new technologies to reduce pressure on wild resources; adopt ecotourism principles or create an ecotourism site, as another way to add economic value to natural peatlands; provide education or training programmes about sustainable management.
Croon F.W. (2013) Saving reed lands by giving economic value to reed. Mires and Peat, 13, Article 10.
Gaveau D.L.A., Kshatriya M., Sheil D., Sloan S., Molidena E., Wijaya A., Wich S., Ancrenaz M., Hansen M., Broich M., Guariguata M.R., Pacheco P., Potapov P., Tubanova S. & Meijaard E. (2013) Reconciling forest conservation and logging in Indonesian Borneo. PLoS ONE, 8, e69887.
Ramsar Convention Secretariat (2010) Wise Use of Wetlands: Concepts and Approaches for the Wise Use of Wetlands, Fourth Edition. Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Gland, Switzerland.
Suryadiputra I.N.N., Alue Dohong R., Waspodo S.B., Muslihat L., Lubis I.R., Hasudungan F. & Wibisono I.T.C. (2005) A Guide to the Blocking of Canals and Ditches in Conjunction with the Community. Wetlands International Indonesia & Wildlife Habitat Canada, Bogor.
Whinam J. & Buxton R.P. (1997) Sphagnum peatlands of Australasia: an assessment of harvesting sustainability. Biological Conservation, 82, 21-29.