OTTAWA, February 2, 2022 –   World Wetlands Day (WWD) is observed on February 2 every year to raise awareness of the important role wetlands play in global physical well-being and the ecosystems they serve. WWD provides an opportunity for the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA) to highlight the industry’s globally championed restoration techniques and the commitment to restoring peatlands under the National Peatland Restoration Initiative (NPRI), a national industry wide commitment.

“The goal of peatland restoration after horticultural peat harvesting is to re-establish self-regulatory mechanisms that will lead back to a naturally functioning ecosystem, including its ability to accumulate peat,” said CSPMA President, Asha Hingorani. “Restoration is a core value of Canada’s peat producers, which is why in 2016 CSPMA members adopted the NPRI,” added Hingorani.

The industry’s NPRI covers all areas where peat companies have been or are present in Canada since the creation of the industry in the early 1920’s. The primary goals of the NPRI were to reduce by 30 per cent the historical non-restored areas in the first five years of its inception, with a target of 100 per cent reduction within 15 years. The NPRI also includes the promotion of ecological restoration by the Moss Layer Transfer Technique (MLTT) in at least 60 per cent of these areas. “Within the first 4 years of the NPRI (2016-2020), members have reduced the historical non-restored areas by 28 per cent,” said Hingorani.

Canada is a global leader in peatland restoration, including the internationally championed MLTT, which was developed and refined over more than 30 years of research and collaboration with the Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG), an academic forum led by Canada’s advanced university researchers. This technique and Canada’s leadership in this field has been applauded in many global forums including recently at COP26 in Glasgow.

“The role of peat or carbon-accumulating peatlands, as an important nature-based solution to mitigate climate change, is being slowly discovered globally. Prompt active ecological restoration post-extraction can jump-start the recovery to net CO2 sequestration. In Canada, 30 years of research in partnership academia-industry has led to the development of an ecological approach to peatland restoration. So, it is not how or if we can restore Sphagnum bogs, it is a matter of planning to do it with all the restoration tools, stakeholders, and guidelines available,” said Dr. Line Rochefort, National correspondent for Canada for the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

A great deal of knowledge has been developed around bog restoration, and more research is needed to adapt the restoration methods to the variability of conditions found. New research programs are being implemented, such as the program announced in the summer of 2021 with Brandon University (BU) of Manitoba, supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the CSPMA, to investigate fen restoration and hydrology, which are common in the Prairies and western provinces.

About the CSPMA

The CSPMA is the Canadian national association of horticultural peat moss producers. The association is devoted to promoting responsible management of Canadian peatlands. CSPMA provides support to and advocacy for its members and leadership in environmental and social stewardship, as well as economic well-being and food security related to Canadian peatland resources use.

For more information

Asha Hingorani,
CSPMA President