Plans announced to establish National Peatland Centre of Excellence at University of Galway

Cloncrow Bog, Co. Westmeath. Credit: Eugene Dunbar.
Dec 15 2023 Posted: 09:59 GMT

University of Galway has announced plans to establish the National Peatland Centre of Excellence to help tackle national and global challenges related to peatlands and associated decarbonisation, biodiversity loss, just transitions and culture.

This initiative follows the successful Peatland Futures event held at the university, which brought together experts, policymakers and stakeholders to deliberate on the future of peatland and wetland research and innovation in Ireland. 

Representatives from government departments, universities and community and farming organisations took part in the event. 

A crucial component of Peatland Futures was the collective call to action for wetland and peatland restoration and conservation. 

Recognising the significance of improving peatland conditions for long-term environmental benefit, participants were united in support of establishing a national centre of excellence to provide essential support, knowledge, training, policy insights and resources necessary for conservation efforts.

Speaking at the Peatland Futures event, Professor Jim Livesey, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at University of Galway said: “Like so many challenges, we recognise that solutions cannot be found from one perspective, so we wish to engage with landowners, farmers, policymakers, community groups, government agencies and other research institutions. Together, we can make a lasting difference for the preservation of Ireland's peatlands.” 

Dr Terry Morley, Assistant Professor and organiser of the Peatland Futures event, said: “Ireland has world-class peatland research and expertise and it’s time we act to increase our collective capacity for research, public outreach and dissemination, and to train the next generation of peatland practitioners. The University of Galway is uniquely situated with blanket and raised bogs at our doorstep and broad interdisciplinary peatland research expertise.”

The event featured two workshops aimed at shaping the future of peatland research. The first discussed the proposal for a National Peatland Centre of Excellence, while a second focused on creating a policy summary and providing actionable strategies for informed decision-making in peatland conservation.

The event also included the launch of “Social Marketing, Principles and Practice for Delivering Global Change” by Professor Christine Domegan, University of Galway and Professor Gerard Hastings, University of Stirling, which featured a photo and story of Abbeyleix Bog from award winning peatlands photographer Tina Cafferty.


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