Wetlands International announces action plan for Central European peatlands

06/02/2004

Dear Forum Members

Wetlands International is very pleased to announce the report Strategy and Action Plan for Mire and Peatland Conservation in Central Europe.

The Central European Peatland Project (CEPP) involved 8 countries in the Baltic-Black Sea corridor: Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, and Ukraine.

The objectives of the project were to

* Develop a Strategy and Action Plan for Peatland in Central Europe;
* Produce an overview of peatlands in Central Europe;
* Identify peatlands that are of significant value for biodiversity;
* Increase awareness on values and functions of peatlands.

Western European countries have lost most of their peatlands as a result of agricultural and economic development. Peatlands in the CEPP region have not been affected as severely and they are therefore excellent examples of peatland types that can no longer be found further west.

The Strategy and Action Plan for Mire and Peatland Conservation in Central Europe has now been finalised thanks to the work of the focal countries' representatives, managed by the Danish National Museum and Wetlands International. The publication is available for downloading on the Wetlands International website at http://www.wetlands.org/pubs&/CEPP.htm.

Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, writes the following on the production of this report:

"Peatlands are vital economic and ecological resources which contribute to biological, landscape and cultural diversity. They comprise characteristic assemblages of species which can exhibit intense patterning of plant and animal communities. Peatlands are also the best ecosystem for sequestering carbon (with current stores far exceeding those held in rainforests).

Guidelines for Global Action on Peatlands were agreed at the last Conference of Parties to the Ramsar Convention. These guidelines note that "There is a wide range of threats to peatlands that require urgent national and/or international action". To help counter these threats, the Ramsar Convention is working with its sister conventions, on biodiversity and climate change.

The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to see this report, which provides a significant step forward by presenting a summary of current knowledge and a Strategy and an Action Plan for Central Europe; a region that still harbours large peatland areas and types which are virtually extinct elsewhere. But changes in land management, ownership and the nature of economic exploitation are now placing peatland in this region under increasing threat.

This present publication will help inform all concerned to achieve better governance, and thereby management and conservation, for Peatlands in Central Europe."

Kind regards,
Saskia Henderikse
Communications Officer
Wetlands International

PO Box 471
6700 AL Wageningen
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 317 478872
E-mail: saskia.henderikse@wetlands.org
http://www.wetlands.org

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