iCRAG’s Future of Ireland's Peatlands: Science, Engineering & a Just Transition workshop took place on Tuesday 21st February at Abbeyleix Manor Hotel.
The all-day workshop explored a broad range of research related to Ireland’s peatlands from restoration and monitoring to the just transition and engineering considerations on post-peat land use.
With over 145 attendees on the day, stakeholders included researchers, community groups, industry, state and semi-state agencies. Engaged discussions focussed on how current and upcoming research can best address challenges faced by the peat sector. Attendees were also taken on a bog walk through Abbeyleix Bog by Chris Uys of the Abbeyleix Bog Project to witness the very successful restoration works that have been undertaken by the local community.
Keynote speakers at the event included:
- Dr Shane Regan from the National Parks and Wildlife Service who spoke on the challenges faced in peatland conservation and the future of peatland restoration in Ireland
- Dr Mack McCorry from Bord na Mona who outlined the peatland climate action scheme on re-wetting Bord na Móna’s cutaway bogs
- Koen Verbruggen, Director of Geological Survey Ireland, who brought audience members through just transition activities at Geological Survey Ireland.
iCRAG speakers on the day included Dr Eve Daly on the use of innovative remote sensing technologies for peatland mapping, Dr Geertje Schuitema on community acceptance of future developments for peatlands, and Dr Bryan McCabe on the examination of the viability of surcharging as a means of secondary settlement reduction on road construction on peatlands. Twenty posters dealing with peatlands were exhibited during the event by iCRAG PhD and postdoctoral researchers.
The workshop closed on a positive note with a panel discussion chaired by Dr Jean O'Dwyer and panellest including Shane Regan (NPWS), Marie Fleming (ARUP), Kate Flood (Community Wetlands Forum & UG), Mark McCorry (Bord na Móna) and Hugh Cushnan (RPS) discussing future priorities for collaboration on Peatland research.
Emer Caslin, iCRAG Business Development Manager said: “iCRAG was delighted to see such a wide range of stakeholders in attendance at our peatlands workshop. The event served as a focus point for identifying impactful peatland research opportunities and how researchers from across the island can work collaboratively with industry, community and state partners in this important area.”
Prof. Murray Hitzman, iCRAG Director remarked: “Delivering a just transition is a key aim of the Climate Action Plan 2023. iCRAG’s interdisciplinary research combines scientific and engineering solutions along with social science insights and considerations to explore how peatlands can be managed and restored to benefit all of society, the environment and especially the local economy”.
The workshop closed with a panel discussion chaired by iCRAG Deputy Director Dr Jean O'Dwyer and panellest including Shane Regan (NPWS), Marie Fleming (ARUP), Kate Flood (Community Wetlands Forum & UG), Mark McCorry (Bord na Móna) and Hugh Cushnan (RPS) discussing future priorities for collaboration on Peatland research.
For more information on the Future of Ireland's Peatlands: Science, Engineering & a Just Transition workshop visit the event website.