Congress Symposium

Symposium Themes

  1. Inventory, Biodiversity, Conservation and Functions of Peatlands
  2. Peatlands and Ecosystem Management
  3. Peatlands After-use, Restoration and Rehabilitation of Ex-production Peatlands
  4. Peat Use, Peatlands Technology and Agro-technology
  5. Responsible Utilization and Management of Peatlands
  6. Cultural, Educational, Medicinal and Socio-economic Aspects of Peatlands, Peat and Sapropel
  7. Special Session:
    1. Soft Soil Engineering
    2. Growing media and the future of horticulture
    3. Publically managed peatland carbon storage, ecosystem services, and management
    4. Tropical Peatland Biodiversity and Conservation in Borneo and Sumatra
    5. Peatland Restoration
    6. Asiaflux


1. Inventory, Biodiversity, Conservation and Functions of Peatlands

Natural peatlands are unique ecosystems with distinct floral and faunal compositions that contribute greatly to global biodiversity. These habitats also provide a range of ecosystem services that are important to local communities, national economies and global environmental processes. Owing to their importance and sensitivity to human disturbance compared to other ecosystems, the protection of remaining virgin/undisturbed peatland ecosystems are a conservation priority. We invite contributions related to:

  1. Peat biological, chemical, microbiological and physical characteristics
  2. Classification, inventory and terminology
  3. Age, formation and stratigraphy
  4. Geochemistry, hydrochemistry and hydrology
  5. Peatlands as historical archives
  6. Remote sensing, aerial and satellite imagery
  7. Peatland conservation and management with case studies
  8. Biodiversity and Ecosystem services
  9. Conservation of peatland forest and wildlife
  10. International protocols and conventions


2. Peatlands and Ecosystem Management

While peatlands only cover about 2-3% of the Earth's surface, they are very large terrestrial carbon (C) stores, representing up to one third of the world's terrestrial carbon pool. This is largely due to the slow rate of organic matter decomposition. As such, peatlands represent an important long-term sink foratmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) some of which is released following drainage and land use change. We kindly invite scientists to submit presentations related to:

  1. Peatland climate and carbon balance
  2. Global, regional and national peat carbon stocks and losses
  3. GHG measurement technologies
  4. GHG measurement comparisons and standards, especially for CO2, CH4 and N2O
  5. GHG emissions from natural, managed, degraded andrestored peatlands
  6. Peat forest-wildfire - impacts on environment and society


3. Peatlands After-use, Restoration and Rehabilitation of Ex-production Peatlands

The restoration of peatland ecosystem functions has been suggested as one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change. Peatland restoration and rehabilitation can also enhance biodiversity. Not all degraded peatlands can be restored by rewetting and there are other forms of after-use including forestry, agriculture and leisure activities. Therefore, this session welcomes contributions to:

  1. Restoration techniques and regulatory considerations
  2. Restoration of bogs and fens in boreal and temperate zones
  3. Restoration and rehabilitation of peatland in the tropics
  4. Rewetting and re-vegetation techniques
  5. Rehabilitation of vegetation and animal communities
  6. Paludiculture and Sphagnum farming
  7. Eco-tourism potential
  8. Cost, financial tools and economics of restoration


4. Peat Use, Peatlands Technology and Agro-technology

This session is dedicated to the most relevant issues and aspects of peat production, peatland management technologies, sustainable wood and non-wood forest products, agro-based industry and the use of peat products for various economic purposes. In boreal and temperate zones effective and efficient production and high quality processing aim to improve peat resources utilization, as well as implementing plans for restoration and responsible management of cut-over peatland. In the tropics, the desire is to manage the peatland resource in amanner that minimises greenhouse gas emissions and subsidence rates while optimising crop production. Presenters are invited to contribute to the following topics:

  1. Peatland survey methods
  2. Planning and establishment of peat production and peatland management areas
  3. Responsible peat production and use
  4. Peat harvesting and processing technologies
  5. Legal and regulatory frameworks
  6. Peatland restoration planning
  7. GIS, apps and new technologies


5. Responsible Utilization and Management of Peatlands

Peat has many uses and peatlands are managed for different purposes. Peat is extracted and used mainly for energy and horticulture in boreal and temperate zones and for the production of a range of other products. Managed peatlands are used mostly for agriculture and forestry following drainage and in some cases, removal of vegetation. In the tropics peatlands are used for smallholder agriculture and plantations of commodity crops such as oil palm and pineapple and fiber plantation for pulp and paper. There are environmental and socio-economic impacts of many peatland uses some of which are detrimental to local, regional and global environments. We invite contributions spanning the wide range of peatland and peat uses, including:

  1. Peat in horticulture
  2. Peat for energy
  3. Agriculture and forest plantations on peatlands
  4. Peatland forestry
  5. Agro or forest design, land preparation and management
  6. Environmental and socio-economic impacts
  7. Other uses of peat
  8. Legislations and regulations affecting peatland management
  9. International forest governance strategies applicable to peatlands


6. Cultural, Educational, Medicinal and Socio-economic Aspects of Peatlands, Peat and Sapropel

Peatlands globally have interested and involved local communities for centuries, probably millennia as sources of food, safety, shelter and medicinal plants. In certain countries they provide a source of fuel while others were often regarded as mystical places occupied by spirits of the dead and mystical creatures. This session provides the opportunity for those who are less involved in the scientific and technical aspects of peatlands and peat to interface and present their current research in areas such as pre-historic findings, history of peat utilisation, art, literature, archaeology, biology, sociology, music and anthropology that may address peatlands in their various ways. We promote the mutual understanding between proponents of interests like nature and heritage conservation and economic use.

Balneology is the science of medical application of water, especially of curative springs and of peloids, mainly in spas. Peat and sapropel therapy in balneology and health care has a long tradition. However, modern peat therapy methods have been in use since the early 19th century in Central Europe. In recent times, sapropel therapy has become very popular in Eastern Europe. Peat mud and suspension baths, peat sauna as well as poultices are the most common types of peat and sapropel application in balneotherapy. Of particular importance in the treatment are the organic, humic substances in the peat and sapropel, which can penetrate the skin, influencing enzymatic reactions. In addition, many peat and sapropel preparations are available and applied in human as well as in veterinary medicine, together with preparations of high cosmetic value.

  1. Balneological, medicinal and therapeutic use of peat
  2. Cultural and socio-economic aspects
  3. Peatlands and indigenous and local peoples
  4. Education, social awareness of peat and peatland
  5. Peat art, literature and music


7. Special Sessions:

  1. Soft Soil Engineering

  2. Convenor: Ir Dr Dominic Ong, Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak Campus, Malaysia

    Construction on peats and soft soils often give rise to challenging engineering problems as they are compressible and have low shear strength that leads to limited bearing capacity to sustain imposed loads. Peat grounds are highly compressible in nature due to their large pore spaces as well as having high organic and natural moisture contents. Besides, peats also possess creep behavior, whereby secondary compression could take place for an infinite long time under a constant loading condition. While soft soils do not portray the detrimental creep phenomenon, they can cause serviceability issues to buildings and infrastructure built on them if post-construction settlements are not addressed. Buildings and infrastructure failures due to excessive settlements / movements in peat and / or soft soil conditions are not uncommon in this part of the world. This Special Session will consider the following broad themes related to peat and soft soil engineering:

    1. Characterisation and engineering behaviour
    2. Construction challenges and sustainable treatments
    3. Material performance
    4. Recent advances in research
    5. Government initiatives and policies

  3. Growing media and the future of horticulture

  4. Convenor: Gerald Schmilewski, Klassmann-Deilmann GmbH, Germany

    IPS Commission II is pleased to announce a workshop on "The use of growing media in todays and future horticulture in Asia, Oceania and other parts of the world". The focus is on Asia and Oceania but paper and poster proposals from other regions are highly welcomed and encouraged. Economic, environmental and societal aspects will be equally regarded as they are the pillars of sustainable development of growing media production and use. Responsible growing media production and horticultural application must be acceptable, feasible and appropriate for all stakeholders. In this session, scientific progress as well as advances in practice and business endeavors will be presented and discussed between researchers, industry and end-users.

  5. Publically managed peatland carbon storage, ecosystem services, and management

  6. Convenor: Dr Zhiliang Zhu, United States Geological Survey, USA

    Peatlands represent an important carbon pool in the world. In the United States, peatlands are distributed in coastal and interior plains under both temperate and boreal climates and are included in the national (GHG) greenhouse gas inventories. For example, the Atlantic coastal region contains extensive natural or restored peatland swamp ecosystems that are largely managed as public lands and offer multiple ecosystem services, such as recreation, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration. To provide science support for informed management of the unique ecosystems, many research studies are being conducted to measure carbon and GHG fluxes, estimate carbon balance, understand effects of changing land use, and model carbon sequestration as one of multiple ecosystem services.This session is devoted to the exchange of research methods and results related to the above. We invite abstracts focused on major carbon or GHG fluxes of managed or restored peatlands, the fate of peat soil under the onset of climate change, relations between hydrology and carbon balance, and modeling of carbon sequestration as one of multiple ecosystem services. Real world examples of the research are encouraged from either North America or other regions in the world.

    Collaboration opportunities in publicly managed parks

    A side event to communicate about the potential of publicly managed peatlands for achieving multiple ecosystem services including carbon sequestration. In the context of the communication objective, the side event is specifically focused on coordination of three national parks: Sebangau National Park of Indonesia, Maludam National Park of Malaysia, and the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge of the U.S.The side event will be useful to the managers of the national parks, the public, and scientists, and will discuss: (1) what are major management objectives and challenges, (2) what can be learned from success stories in each unique setting of the parks, and (3) opportunities to use carbon sequestration to achieve more protection and restoration of priority habitats of the parks. This side event will be co-sponsored by the United States Department of the Interior.

  7. Tropical Peatland Biodiversity and Conservation in Borneo and Sumatra

  8. Convenor: Dr Mark E. Harrison, OuTrop and University of Leicester

    Tropical peatlands are the most biodiversepeatland environment, yet also among the most threatened. This is particularly true on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, which contain large peat deposits, upon which rich tropical rainforests grow. These forests support a wide area of flora and fauna, including globally threatened species, such as orangutans, gibbons, tigers, clouded leopards, Storm's storks and many others. In addition, peat-swamp forests also provide important ecosystem services to both local and international communities, including flood and fire prevention, carbon sequestration and storage, provision of timber and non-timber forest products, plus cultural and spiritual values. Despite this, Borneo and Sumatra's peatlands face a variety of threats, from conversion for agriculture, to drainage, fire, logging and direct wildlife exploitation. These threats have been exemplified by the devastating peatland fires that have occurred throughout Sumatra and Borneo in 2015, as a result of habitat and hydrological mis-management. In this session, we highlight the rich biodiversity found in Borneo and Sumatra's tropical peat-swamp forests, the threats this biodiversity faces, and advances in biodiversity and conservation science in this area.

  9. Peatland Restoration

  10. Given the increased global interest for peatland restoration initiatives, it is proposed to dedicate a separate panel to the subject and an additional call for papers is now being sought. The proposed thematic areas are listed below as a guide and 'food for thought'. The list should not be viewed as exclusive. Restoration initiatives can be manifold and multidimensional. At one end of the spectrum rewetting is an option when the right conditions prevail; at the other end, mitigation measures and better management practices also have an important role to play. This session is intended to provide an opportunity to share experiences and lessons learned - and to provide more clarity to policy makers, particularly with regard to intended outcomes and expected costs.

  11. Asiaflux

  12. Convenor: Takashi Hirano Laboratory of Environmental Informatics, Hokkaido University, Japan

    AsiaFlux is a regional research network set up to co-ordinate the monitoring of terrestrial biosphere-atmosphere exchanges of carbon, water, and other atmospheric constituents such as non-CO2 greenhouse gases and volatile organic carbons in Asia. AsiaFlux is created as an inter-disciplinary community, in which not only scientists set up and operate flux towers but also soil scientists, plant ecologists and physiologists work together to contribute to the outcome. Monitoring sites of AsiaFlux cover various and diverse geographical and ecological topography ranging from tropical forests near the equator to tundra in the Arctic including wetlands near sea level to grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau. Among these sites peatland ecosystems have been drawing our special attention and interest because of their vulnerability to climate change and human activities such as natural and man-made bush fires, plantation and land development. Recently, studies in peatlands in Southeast Asia have dramatically increased due to the opening of more lands for development and usage, in order to better understand carbon and greenhouse gas exchanges in tropical peatlands, their roles in the global budgets and the effect of potential changes influenced by climate change and human activities. We are pleased to promote this area of research by including a collaborative session in IPC2016, which is being held in Southeast Asia for the first time, to discuss present status, potential changes and sustainability/resilience of peatland ecosystems, especially those of tropical peatlands, in terms of terrestrial biosphere-atmosphere exchanges.

We welcome suggestions on session topics, keynote addresses as well as recommendation on keynote speakers for the various sessions. Please communicate your ideas and suggestions to the conference secretariat at
Last Updates: 30 March 2016

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In The Highlights

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Important Dates

  • Deadline for Abstract Submission

    15 January 2016
  • Deadline of Extended Abstract Submission

    30 April 2016 img
  • Deadline for Normal Registration

    30 June 2016