Effectiveness of conservation management actions for cool climate peatlands

Date: 30, Dec, 2021
Author(s): Jessica Walsh   Joslin Moore  
Publisher: TSR Hub

Peatlands are among our most spectacular wetlands and support many unique and threatened species. In Australia, despite many peatlands occurring within conservation reserves, they face a range of threats. To restore peatlands to a healthy state, we need to know which management actions actually work. We used a rapid synthesis approach to summarise evidence on the effectiveness of different management actions at restoring degraded peatlands around the world. Actions that were found to support peatland recovery include the use of rewetting, shading or mulching, reprofiling, mowing, controlling grazers and active revegetation. Planned burns and applying fertilisers had both positive and negative impacts on peatlands and grazing was largely harmful. We found that considering the impact of management actions across the whole ecosystem is vital for peatland conservation to be successful, as peatland hydrology, chemical properties and biodiversity are intrinsically linked. Our novel approach to evidence synthesis is a highly useful way of summarising evidence to support evidence-based conservation management.