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Carbon-climate-human interactions in tropical peatlands vulnerabilities, risks and mitigation measures

Final Report Summary - CARBOPEAT (Carbon-climate-human interactions in tropical peatlands vulnerabilities, risks and mitigation measures)

The CARBOPEAT project aimed to enhance understanding and promote awareness regarding carbon, climate and human interactions in tropical peatlands. CARBOPEAT focused on the vulnerabilities and risks of the carbon pools as well as on potential mitigation measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions based on the use of renewable natural resources. More specifically, the project objectives were to:
1. synthesise information and knowledge from previous research efforts in order to identify critical gaps, determine policy implications and formulate guidelines for tropical peat carbon optimisation;
2. establish an international network of experts and stakeholders to address the emerging problems in a sustainable context;
3. facilitate access to knowledge and expertise in the field, integrate knowledge on boreal and temperate peatlands and produce explicit guidance which targeted international conventions, industries and governments;
4. investigate potential carbon offset and trading mechanisms and design reporting and monitoring guidelines;
5. establish platforms to disseminate information and to prepare implementation strategies and policy recommendations.

The principal issues affecting carbon, climate and human interactions in tropical peatlands were analysed and relevant scientific documentation was prepared, containing the most up to date information and assessing its importance and relevance to stakeholder groups. The reports provided estimates on the size and location of tropical peat carbon pools, referred to carbon and gas interactions, assessed the identified risks and vulnerabilities and defined mitigation and restoration strategies.

The established international experts network (IEN) enabled information dissemination, focusing on different projects' outcomes and their relevance to land management and policies' application. An interactive project-related website was also established, while regional and international events, such as workshops and symposia, were organised. Furthermore, relevant documents were circulated, while direct and indirect dissemination activities were planned to extend beyond the project lifetime. Discussion meetings focused on various topics, such as:
1. carbon emissions from oil palm development;
2. pulpwood plantations' development;
3. the pulp and paper industry and the publishing industry with regard to sourcing paper from sustainable producers;
4. private carbon offset proposals;
5. the role of peatland fires in the global carbon cycle;
6. the implications of international protocols' negotiations for tropical peatlands;
7. demonstration projects;
8. the importance of improved water management for plantations;
9. the significance of wise use management principles in land use planning for degraded areas; and
10. the agricultural sector, both in developing countries and the European Union.

Apart from that, targeted meetings investigated potential carbon offset and trading mechanisms and resulted in the formulation of future research proposals. Demonstration projects and relevant methodologies were additionally developed, increasing the understanding of the priority issues. Finally, groups of stakeholders prepared a major statement on the importance of tropical peatlands in carbon, climate and human interactions and published guidance for inclusion in national and international policies.

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