€10 million project highlighting importance of peatlands to the climate

Galway Daily news Galway site chosen for €8.5 million rewilding project

NUI Galway will be helping to lead a €10 million EU project to highlight the importance of peatlands to helping to combat climate change.

The EU LIFE Peatlands and People project aims to show how restoring peatlands is an important climate action due to their potential as carbon sinks.

The project is coordinated by Bord na Móna together with NUIG, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the EPA, and ERINN Innovation Ltd.

Dr Christine Domegan, from NUIG’s Whitaker Institute, is leading one of the three main focuses of the project, looking at ways to introduce the importance of peatlands in climate action to people.

“Most of us recognise that everyday life today is not the same as it was with climate change, the pandemic and so much more.

“It is a world shaped increasingly by collective as well as individual choice, and by systems, social and behaviour change all rolled into one.”

“In this emerging complex world, NUI Galway as the leading academic partner in Ireland’s EU LIFE Peatlands and People work, is already into a future of radical transformation.”

“The call to action is to get on board now, be the Change Catalyst in your life, your family and your community to open the door to a new sustainable world for all.”

The project will establish:

  • A Peatlands knowledge Centre of Excellence in Ireland that will explore and carry out best practices in peatland restoration and rehabilitation and design methodologies to monitor and analyse carbon fluxes. Over time the peatlands are expected to store more carbon and also support multiple ecosystem service benefits.
  • A Just Transition Accelerator programme that will focus on low-carbon and circular economies to support the midlands region economically. It intends to provide a range of services for the development of new sustainable products, services, enterprises and value chains.
  • An immersive People’s Discovery Attraction in the midlands that will be designed to introduce the importance of climate action and peatlands to citizens. Its long-term aim is to progress with the establishment of an educational space that cultivates curiosity and climate literacy, providing a forum for dialogue and discovery.

The EU Commission has provided €10 million in funding for the peatlands project, and additional is coming from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Announcing the project, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan TD said “Our peatlands are a precious resource in terms of storing carbon, restoring biodiversity and supporting local communities in new jobs taking care of our environment.”

“The Peatlands Centre of Excellence, Just Transition Accelerator, and the new Discovery Attraction supported by this EU LIFE project put the spotlight and investment where it should be, on Peatlands AND People.”