Global Challenges Academy

Managing Peatlands for for Global climate Benefit

Restoring and Sustainably Managing Peatlands for Global Climate Benefit

  • Goal 2: Zero Hunger
  • Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Goal 13: Climate Action
  • Goal 15: Life on Land
  • Partnered with: IUCN UK Peatland Programme; UN Environmental Program (UNEP); UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR); UNEP-led Global Peatlands Initiative
  • Region: Global

Peatlands are a massive carbon sink - the UK’s alone contain 5.1 billion tonnes of carbon. Peat decomposition has serious consequences for the future of the planet. It releases vast amounts of carbon into the Earth’s atmosphere, exacerbating climate change. However, peatlands also store and filter water for drinking, mitigate flooding and form a vital habitat for many species.

How we are meeting this challenge

Our research has provided the most comprehensive analysis to date of links between land degradation and climate change. It has contributed to the design and implementation of the UK’s first ever private-public Payments for Ecosystem Services scheme to pay for the restoration of damaged peatlands. The Peatland Code is now bringing in investment from the private sector and has in excess of 20 restoration projects in the UK

We are generating new evidence of the economic costs and benefits of peatland restoration versus inaction, providing the basis for broader uptake of payments for ecosystem services schemes to support peatland restoration internationally.

Someone walking through peatlands in the snow.

Who will benefit

Programmes for land restoration and mitigation of land degradation and climate change globally; UK peatlands and those who manage and benefit from them.

Project team

  • Professor Mark Reed, Newcastle University
  • Professor Mark Whittingham, Newcastle University
  • Professor Selina Stead, Newcastle University
  • IUCN UK Peatland Programme
  • UN Environmental Program (UNEP)
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
  • UNEP-led Global Peatlands Initiative

Let's work together

If you're interested in working with us on a future research project, or would like to collaborate, email us today: global.challenges@ncl.ac.uk