Relive the Peatland Policy workshop in France

On 28 September 2020, the French team (Orléans University – CNRS – BRGM) of Interreg Care-Peat organised, in the form of a webinar, a workshop on the restoration strategies of peatlands in France with the collaboration of Francis Muller, from the Conservatoire des Espaces Naturels – Pole Relais Tourbières.

In the morning, the issue of the relationships between different administrative levels was discussed with presentations made by M. Florent Serrette, mayor of the village of Mignovillard (local level), Mme Catherine Gremillet, director of ANEB (Association Nationale des Elus des Bassins, link between local and national level), and Mme Frédérique Tuffnell, MP working on the place of the wetlands in the French laws (national level). The presentations and the discussions that followed showed that restoration actions do work well locally both in terms of ecosystem wealth and in terms of local community appropriation: the elementary school of Mignovillard was named after the peatland. However, there is a lack of acknowledgement at the national level of the role of peatlands in mitigating climate change, which is a clear barrier.

In the afternoon, Daniel Gilbert and Christian At, both professors at the Bourgogne Franche-Comté University, presented the peatland restoration with an economic angle. From their researches, they showed that, on an economical point of view, the most degraded peatlands are the most interesting, as they have the highest C storing potential after restoration. Also, economically, it is impossible to measure the actual efficiency of restoration. Thus, we must work in due care and the national authorities have to encourage farmers, as the main actors of peatland management, to undertake restoration. This can work as long as they can earn enough money (thanks to compensatory measures). Controls by experts can be set up. In this framework, the presenters showed very well the complexity of the whole system because of the asymmetry of the information.

About 20 persons attended the morning and afternoon workshops. The whole webinar was recorded and is available below. The attendees agreed that this workshop should be followed by a field visit next time.

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