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Update of the Peatland Restoration Guide: Release of Three New Booklets

The Canadian horticultural peat industry is proud to announce the release of three new booklets in the Peatland Restoration Guide series. These new documents are added to a first booklet published in 2019. The whole package forms an updated version of the guide published in 2003, and the content is the result of a long series of scientific research and continuous improvement of peatland restoration techniques.

The Peatland Restoration Guide is the inescapable tool for all the peat producers and other wetland practitioners wishing to successfully apply the Moss Layer Transfer Technique (MLTT) for the restoration of Sphagnum-dominated peatlands. “In addition to incorporating the progress made in peatland restoration since 2003, the approach described in the new booklets is now based on the results of numerous restoration projects carried out by the peat industry across Canada” mentions François Quinty, author.

“A preliminary version of the new guide was tested in October 2019 with peat producers during a peatland restoration workshop, which helped improve the content. The industry scientific committee was also consulted in order to take into account their expertise in the application of the restoration method” adds Stephanie Boudreau, Scientific Coordinator of the CSPMA.

New Information

The booklets cover the following subjects:

Planning Restoration Projects: This booklet begins with a brief review of the Moss Layer Transfer Technique and then details the steps involved in planning restoration projects.

Site Preparation and Rewetting: This booklet describes how to prepare the site, manage water flow and retention by building dikes, make sure the restored sector is connected to adjacent land and rewet the site through ditch blocking.

Plant Material Collecting and Management of Donor Sites: This booklet released in October 2019 focuses on the plant collecting phase as well as the selection and management of donor sites. The numerous restoration projects carried out since 2003 have demonstrated how important this step is to the success of restoration work.

Spreading Plant Material, Mulch and Fertilizer: This booklet focuses on the stages in which plant material, mulch and fertilizer are spread.

Marie-Claire LeBlanc, author, explains: “the method provides both operationally realistic and scientifically valid restoration options for a variety of sites and conditions. In addition, the ideal residual conditions for restoration are presented, which should serve as indicators for responsible peatland use and management.”

Through the years, research has shown that undisturbed peatlands act as long-term net sinks for atmospheric carbon, but peat harvesting converts these ecosystems into net sources of greenhouse gases. Ecosystem-scale peatland restoration can return the carbon sink function within a decade to 15 years. Adding to this the successful return of biodiversity and ecological services provided by peatlands, the industry and the scientific community agree that restoration is a must-do practice.

“After over 25 years of large-scale application of the method of restoring Sphagnum-dominated peatlands under all kinds of climatic conditions, we now know the approach is robust. Thereby there is no longer any technological reason not to restore a degraded peat bog that has compatible site conditions (uncontaminated site with acidic pH)” concludes Dr. Line Rochefort, author.

The Peatland Restoration Guide is published jointly by the Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG), the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA) and the Québec Peat Moss Producers Association (APTHQ). It was carried out with the financial participation of Canada Economic Development for Québec Regions (DEC) and the Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI) through a structuring project of the ACCORD Peat and Substrates Cluster.

About the authors

François Quinty, M.A. Geography

Following his Master’s degree in geography completed in 1988, François Quinty has specialized in peatlands; he joined the Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG) in 1992 to work on the development of methods to restore peatlands in collaboration with the Canadian peat industry. He was involved in many projects in Canada and the USA aimed at restoring post-extracted peatlands or adapting restoration methods to specific conditions. He has also worked on the vegetalization and stabilization of disturbed sites such as sand and gravel pits, roadsides and mine tailings, as well as wetlands restoration and creation for compensation purposes mostly in the boreal zone of Québec. Mr. Quinty led and participated in surveys and baseline studies on vegetation, wetlands and wildlife. He directed environmental impact assessments for peatland development projects in Québec, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. He also contributed to environmental impact assessments for power line projects. He joined WSP Canada Inc. in 2005.

Marie-Claire LeBlanc, M.ATDR

Marie-Claire LeBlanc is a geographer and graduated in Land Management (M.ATDR) in 2008. She has worked for 10 years as a research professional with the Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG), where she coordinated research teams and activities across Canada. Mrs. LeBlanc has also participated in the design and supervision of numerous peatland restoration projects across Canada. Initially in charge of developing research projects about fen ecology, she then contributed to adapting restoration methods developed in Eastern Canada to the Prairie and Western provinces. She has also worked on the restoration of linear disturbances related to hydropower lines and the oil and gas industry in Québec and Alberta. Finally, Mrs. LeBlanc has developed and led numerous training courses, conferences and peatland excursions to promote restoration methods and the latest scientific advances on the subject.

Dr. Line Rochefort, Ph.D. (Botany)

Dr. Line Rochefort is a pioneer in research related to peatland restoration. She is a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and founder of the Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG) at Université Laval in Québec, Canada. PERG brings together researchers from several universities, Canadian industrial peat partners, and federal and provincial government agencies to advance understanding of peatland ecosystems and inform decisions regarding their use and conservation. Dr. Rochefort has instigated a whole new stream of research in the peat industry: the development of techniques for the restoration of peatlands after peat extraction. The technique for bog restoration is now used not only in North America but also in South America (Chile) and Europe (particularly in the Baltic countries, Denmark and Belgium). From 2003 to 2018, Dr. Rochefort has held the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair for Peatland Management. Since 2018, she leads a new program under a NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grant, allowing for continued collaboration between the researchers and the Canadian peat industry. In 2004 she received the prestigious Synergy Award for Innovation from the NSERC, and in 2011, she was honoured with the International Peatland Society’s (IPS) Award of Excellence. Dr. Rochefort is the National Correspondent for Canada for the Ramsar Convention’s Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) since April 2019.