Peatlands as Ramsar sites -- questions and replies
(posted to the Ramsar Forum, 15-18 August 2003)
Peatlands as Ramsar sites
Dear Forum Members,
My name is Victoria de la Balze and I am working in the Wetlands International's office in Buenos Aires. We are working in the project "Inventory of Patagonian Peatlansd" and one of the products will be a list of potential Ramsar Sites protecting peatlands.
That is why I would like to ask about other experiences in designating Ramsar Sites with peatlands or mires. In particular, we are interested in knowing:
* which were the Ramsar Criteria used?
* how were the Site limits defined, which was the unit considered for the designation?
* do those Ramsar Sites include patches of peatlands together with the surroundings habitats (woods for example)?
* which were the problems and the solutions found when trying to designate peatlands as Ramsar Sites?
We are very interested to hear about experiences in other countries.
Many thanks for all the help.
Lic. Victoria de la Balze
Nick Davidson adds this note:
In recognition of peatlands being an under-represented wetland type in the Ramsar List, COP8 adopted Resolution VIII.11, which includes additional guidance for identifying and designating peatlands as Ramsar sites. This includes guidance on in which wetland types in the Ramsar Classification peatland can occur, and on applying the Ramsar Criteria to peatlands, including selecting an appropriate unit to designate.
From WI's Ramsar Sites Database website: as at August 2002, no. of peatland Ramsar sites: Non-forested peatlands: primary wetland type: 128; occuring within site: 155 Forested peatlands: primary wetland type: 25; occuring within site: 85
This indicates that a significant number of sites designated are predominantly peatland, but in other cases, the peatlands form one smaller component of the designated site.
Map of Peatland Ramsar sites on http://www.wetlands.org/RDB/global/peat.html
Dr Nick Davidson
Deputy Secretary General
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
The UK has published guidelines for the selection of peatland sites of national importance as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. These guidelines cover a range of general issues that are important to consider in the section of protected peatlands (whether for Ramsar or other designations). The guidelines deal specifically with peatland formations found in the UK, so the detail related to species will not be as relevant to your different biogeographic situation of course. I would be pleased to send a copy of these guideline to you if you can send me your postal address.
Referring to your specific questions, many UK peatland Ramsar sites contain other non-peatland habitats, especially where these a) occur in the same hydrological unit as the peatland, and/or b) with the peatland elements, form a complex of habitats of conservation importance. The need to take this wider approach regarding mosaics of habitats is stressed in Ramsar's Strategic Framework guidance on site selection (http://ramsar.org/key_res_vii.11e.htm para 48). Needless to say, the need to conserve whole hydrological units is especially important wherever this is possible.
David A. Stroud
UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Monkstone House, City Road
Peterborough PE1 1JY
Tel: +44 (0)1733 562626
Fax: +44 (0)1733 555948
Dear Forum members
Last week Victoria de la Balze asked for criteria for identifying peatlands of international importance. This topic was discussed within IMCG - the International Mire Conservation Group -. Hans Joosten wrote a background paper about this issue. You can read his thoughts on "Identifying peatlands of international biodiversity importance" at http://www.imcg.net/docum/criteria.htm.
Olshausenstraße 75 Tel 00 49 (0) 431 880 4037
D-24098 Kiel, Germany Fax 00 49 (0) 431 880 4083
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