A synthesis of evidence for the effects of interventions to conserve peatland vegetation: overview and critical discussion
bog, fen, mire, peat swamp, restoration
Peatlands are valuable but threatened ecosystems. Intervention to tackle direct threats is often necessary, but should be informed by scientific evidence to ensure it is effective and efficient. Here we discuss a recent synthesis of evidence for the effects of interventions to conserve peatland vegetation - a fundamental component of healthy, functioning peatland ecosystems. The synthesis is unique in its broad scope (global evidence for a comprehensive list of 125 interventions) and practitioner-focused outputs (short narrative summaries in plain English, integrated into a searchable online database). Systematic literature searches, supplemented by recommendations from an international advisory board, identified 162 publications containing 296 distinct tests of 66 of the interventions. Most of the articles studied open bogs or fens in Europe or North America. Only 36 interventions were supported by sufficient evidence to assess their overall effectiveness. Most of these interventions (85 %) had positive effects, overall, on peatland vegetation - although this figure is likely to have been inflated by publication bias. We discuss how to use the synthesis, critically, to inform conservation decisions. Reflecting on the content of the synthesis we make suggestions for the future of peatland conservation, from monitoring over appropriate timeframes to routinely publishing results to build up the evidence base.
Taylor, N.G., P. Grillas, M.S. Fennessy, E. Goodyer, L.L.B. Graham, E. Karofeld, R.A. Lindsay, D.A. Locky, N. Ockendon, A. Rial, S. Ross, R.K. Smith, R. van Diggelen, J. Whinam, and W.J. Sutherland. (2019). A synthesis of evidence for the effects of interventions to conserve peatland vegetation: overview and critical discussion. Mires and Peat, 24: 1–21. doi:10.19189/MaP.2018.OMB.379
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