OTTAWA, June 2, 2023 – To mark World Peatlands Day 2023, the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA) is happy to announce the securement of funding for a large-scale, five-year project aiming at restoring horticultural peat extraction sites. The CanRePeat project is realized in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) under the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, which aims to restore and secure carbon-rich ecosystems across Canada.

The CanRePeat project has three principal components: (1) inventory and characterization of peatlands to be restored; (2) their restoration back to peat-accumulating ecosystems; and (3) their conservation in perpetuity. The peatlands being restored have not been subject to a legal obligation to restore at the time of their entry into operation. The CSPMA was successful in obtaining the full requested amount of $6.7 million over 5 years (2023 to 2027). The funding formula is a 50:50 split, with $3.37 million cash from ECCC and $ 3.37 million from the CSPMA and its members as cash or in-kind contributions.

“CanRePeat is a historic partnership between the Government of Canada and the horticultural peat industry. Horticultural peat producers promote the responsible management of peatlands by providing leadership in social, environmental, and economic areas and we applaud the federal government for recognizing the industry’s legacy, and commitment to peatland restoration. The Canadian horticultural peat industry has been investing in academic research for over 30 years to develop peatland restoration methods such as the Moss Layer Transfer Technique that are now applied across the globe and adapted by other Canadian industrial sectors. We already restore our sites as part of our best management practices and through the industry’s own National Peatland Restoration Initiative,” said Asha Hingorani, President of the CSPMA.

Peat harvested in Canada is exclusively used in horticulture, primarily as an important ingredient in growing media mixes used for food production and home gardening. Although the footprint of the horticultural peat industry is small (less than 0.03 percent of Canadian peatland area), the CSPMA acknowledge the importance of establishing best practices for peat harvesting and peatland restoration to ensure that this sensitive and valuable resource is managed with sustainability in mind.

“Canada’s 1.1 million km2 of peatlands is the second largest in the world and is responsible for storing approximately 25 percent of the world’s carbon stocks. Canada’s peatlands are also essential for retaining, purifying, and delivering fresh water, absorbing pollutants, and sustaining plants and wildlife. Supporting initiatives such as the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association’s CanRePeat project is an important step towards restoring these sensitive yet critical ecological areas. By making investments through the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, we are making progress toward Canada’s efforts to transition to a net-zero economy by 2050, helping to stem biodiversity loss, and contributing to job creation in the green economy,” said the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“The goal of peatland restoration after horticultural peat extraction is to re-establish the ecosystem’s functions including their biodiversity and their ability to sequester carbon. Ensuring our activities are conducted in a responsible, sustainable way, which includes ecosystem restoration, has been a core value of the industry for over three decades,” added Hingorani.

 

About World Peatlands Day
World Peatlands Day is celebrated on the 2nd of June each year. It was launched by the International Peatland Society (IPS) in autumn 2019. That day correlates with the date when the draft constitution of the IPS was adopted at an international symposium in Aberdeen in 1967 and is easy to remember since World Wetlands Day is celebrated February 2nd.

 

About the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund
Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF) is a $1.4 billion, ten-year fund (2021–2031) administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada to help conserve, restore, and enhance the management of ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, and grasslands, in order to help tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. The NSCSF will focus on three main objectives: (1) conserving carbon-rich ecosystems at high risk of conversion to other uses that would release their stored carbon; (2) improving land management practices to reduce their greenhouse gas emission-causing impacts on Canada’s ecosystems; and (3) restoring degraded ecosystems. Overall, these projects will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon sequestration, while also providing benefits for biodiversity and human well-being.