The Source, our Annual Review 2019

Tatiana Minayeva, project coordinator, PeatRus and Wetlands International Associate Expert

Eriophorum angustifolium, commonly known as common cottongrass is a species of flowering plant in the sedge family, Cyperaceae. Native to North America, North Asia, and Northern Europe, it grows on peat or acidic soils, in open wetland, heath or moorland.

helping herders restore their pastures and protect springs as water sources. In Borneo we have been masterminding the protection of one of Indonesia’s largest intact peat swamps in the face of encroaching loggers and palm oil companies, and in 2019 achieved success in restoring wa- ter levels on the Badas peat dome in Brunei, after blocking drainage canals. In Peru and Argentina we are beginning work on improving 760 square kilometres of high altitude peat bogs. Everywhere our work also involves securing the livelihoods of grazers and other people who use and har- vest them.

His work was part of a project to block hundreds of kilo- metres of drains, supervised by Wetlands International and known as “restoring peatlands in Russia”, or PeatRus. The initial aim was to prevent a repetition of devastating peat- land fires during the summer of 2010, by rewetting some 410 square kilometres of drained peatlands. Over the past decade, the vulnerability to fire has been reduced fourfold, and the mire has been put on a path to full restoration of its biodiversity and ability to store carbon, says Tatiana Minayeva, the project coordinator. With new international funding agreed in 2019, the plan is now to wet a total of 1400 square kilometres, with full eco- logical restoration of 350 square kilometres. From the snow-covered boreal peatlands of Russia to the swamp forests of the tropics, peat bogs are among the world’s largest natural stores of carbon – the result of vegetation accumulated in boggy ground over thousands of years. But they are menaced by agricultural drains, peat mining, forestry and overgrazing. Peatlands damaged by human activity already emit up to 8% of all anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions. Unless protected and restored, peatlands threaten to unleash carbon dioxide over the coming decades that could cause runaway climate change.


In early 2019, a dry El-Niño year on the tropical island of Borneo, there were huge fires extending across thousands of square kilometres of forests and peatlands. But they did not take hold in Katingan, on the south of the island, where for the past five years we have been providing technical input to protect 150,000 hectares of forested swamp. Two small fires crossed into the project area, but were swiftly doused by some of the 500 local villagers trained as fire - fighters under the project. It was a small but significant triumph.

The primary purpose of the Katingan conservation project is to lock up carbon. It is funded by carbon credits sold

So beside our work in Russia, we have been busy restoring peatlands across the world. In Mongolia, we have been

Tver oblast peatland in Russia during winter restoration activities.



Wetlands Annual Review 2019

Wetlands Annual Review 2019

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