Fellowship Alert!

Nick Girkin, a member of this group, wanted to draw people’s attention to this fantastic opportunity being advertising currently at his new work place: Cranfield University’s 75th Anniversary Fellowship Scheme.  Have a look here for more information for applicants.

If you’re interested in applying – and the deadline is 20th April – please do get in touch with Nick as he’d be very happy to support your application if you’re interested in working on anything to do with tropical peatlands (or a variety of other ecosystems) and/or GHG fluxes.  He can also put you in contact with a more suitable academic to support applications in almost any area of soil/agriculture/environmental science.  Good luck!

Report from the latest gathering of the TPWGroup

Here is a short report on the latest meeting of the UK TPWG, written by Lydia Cole.

On 30th January, Prof Sue Page and Dr Sara Thornton hosted a meeting of the UK Tropical Peatland Working Group (UK TPWG).  An assortment of researchers gathered for one day at the University of Leicester, to present their work and discuss how the group can be more effective in the realm of tropical peatland science and responsible management.  Attendees successfully navigated the UK rail network from as far as Exeter on the south coast to St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland.  The most junior member of the group had a baptism of fire as the meeting marked the first day of his PhD – well done, Abdul!


Donna Hawthorne presenting on her palaeoecological component of the mega-CongoPeat project. (Credit: Lydia Cole.)

The day started with brief introductions from everyone present, with expertise ranging from palaeoecology to political economy, with a number of biogeochemists and modellers in the mix.  Fifteen people gave a summary of their current work in a short presentation.  The Congo Basin team started the proceedings with a lowdown on the state of knowledge on contemporary greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from these Central African peatlands (Nick Girkin), on their development history (Donna Hawthorne) and past and present spatial patterning (George Biddulph).  The distribution of carbon across Mexico’s wetlands was then showcased (Sofie Sjogersten), followed by insights into the emissions resulting from agriculturally important (and very deep!) peatlands in Uganda (Jenny Farmer).  Several presenters gave reports on the exciting new projects they are just embarking on, e.g. TroPeaCC (Angela Gallego-Sala), or the first findings gathered after recently returning from field campaigns, e.g. the Peru peatlands crew (Anna Macphie, Adam Hastie, Charlotte Wheeler and Lydia Cole).  Katy Roucoux gave a neat overview of the multiple different projects happening in the peatlands of the Pastaza-Marañón Foreland Basin in the Peruvian Amazon, showing a diversity of studies ranging from the modelling of carbon to the mapping of livelihoods, and a variety of palaeo- and neo-ecological studies.  The pantropical circle continued on to Southeast Asia’s peatlands, where we learnt about the importance of peatland fish for rural livelihoods, biodiversity conservation and much more (Sara Thornton); about exciting, and horrifying new measurements of the GHG emissions during the initial years of oil palm plantation establishment on Sarawakian peatlands (Jon McCalmont) and the pattern of biomass accumulation of these palms on organic-rich soils (Kennedy Lewis); finishing with a round-up of potential ways of reducing GHG emissions from peatland agriculture (Yit Arn Teh), such as wise use of fertilisers.

Woman laying out fish to dry, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by Sara Thornton

Sara Thornton told of the importance of fishing for rural communities living in peatland areas in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.  (Credit: Sara Thornton.)

An engaged discussion followed each set of talks, resulting in as many unanswered questions as those we felt able to provide reasoned responses to.  Thus the UK TPWG, along with an extensive body of invaluable collaborators across the Tropics, is tasked with finding answers to these important knowledge gaps we identified (and the funding to match!).  Which wetland ecosystems of the Peruvian Amazon are peat-forming and why?  Where is the labile carbon from the peatlands of the Congo Basin disappearing to?  How can we reduce the impact of cultivating Uganda’s peatlands? And crucially, how do we work across disciplines, perhaps even interdisciplinarily, to tackle the complex challenge of tropical peatland conservation and restoration?


Jon McCalmont thanking the many people involved in his project in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. (Credit: Lydia Cole.)

If you have answers, questions or are interested in engaging with the group, please get in touch – uktropicalpeat@gmail.com.


Grants for early-career peatland scientists/practitioners

There are still several days to apply for an Allan Robertson Grant from the International Peatland Society.  These are prestigious grants (though the application is relatively brief – plenty of time to still apply!), which offer funding to support your peatland work, as well as funding for travel to/from and registration for the International Peatland Congress to be held in Tallinn, Estonia, in June of 2020.

There is a huge chance for you young members of the UK TPWG and other organisations to receive one of the 250-500€ grants if you apply within the next few days.

The main requirement is that applicants are under the age of 30, though this is somewhat flexible if a good reason is given. Both students and young employees are eligible.

Have a look at the conditions and share the information within your network: https://peatlands.org/about-us/honoursgrants/

Application deadline is already 31 January.

Join 2020’s pinnacle peatland event*: International Peatland Congress

(*this is excluding the UK TPWG meeting, obviously!)

The 16th International Peatland Congress:
Peatlands and Peat – Source of Ecosystem Services

The International Peatland Society and Estonian Peat Association invite you to submit an abstract for the 16th International Peatland Congress that will be held in June 2020 in Tallinn, Estonia.

Due to many requests, the Scientific Committee is delighted to announce the deadline extension of the Call for Abstracts for the 16th International Peatland Congress to 31 January 2020.

Important Deadlines for Abstract Submission

  • Extended deadline for Short Abstract Submission (up to 300 words): 31 January 2020
  • Notification of Abstract Acceptance: 2 March 2020
  • Deadline for Extended Abstract Submission: 15 March 2020
  • The presenting author must register by 15 March 2020 and pay the registration fee by 22 March 2020 (please note that registration is required in order to be included in the programme, and to have abstract published in the in the official Proceedings of IPC2020.


Main Topics for Oral and Poster presentations:

Congress topics are divided into two categories: Peatland Ecosystem Services and Peatland Management.

The 27 subtopics are covered by these seven topics:


What is new at the #IPC2020?

PEAT-Talks • Digital posters • “Meet the expert” sessions • “Meet-a-colleague” networking breaks • Movie programme and public lectures • Photo contest

Find more information on the Congress website and 2nd Announcement of the IPC2020.


We hope you will take the advantage and be part of the international society in Tallinn to interact with peers, discuss with the experts and share your research and knowledge.

The 2nd announcement of the Congress is a perfect guide for you to see what’s new at IPC2020, to discover the topics and programme, to help submit the abstract and plan your travel.

We hope to see you as part of the IPC2020 family!


Congress Secretariat

PCO Publicon
E: ipc2020@publicon.ee
T: +372 740 4095


Peaty postdoc in Peru, anyone?

Brand-new Postdoctoral opportunities in Amazon peatlands research

Project title: Assessing and modeling the inputs, stability and fate of soil C in Amazon peatlands and flooded forest under changing climate

Location: based in Iquitos Peru at the collaboration of Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana (Peru) and Arizona State University (USA)

Potential start and end: January 2020-December 2021 (2 years)

Motivation and opportunity: The Amazon basin is one of the major C reserves in the world and is under multiple threats derived from anthropogenic activities. These threats are affecting one key function as C sink for the world. Amazon peatlands, carbon sequestering wetlands where the rate of accumulation exceed the rate of
decomposition, have been documenting as holding high amounts of C in the Amazon, and the Pastaza-Maranon fore basin in Peru has been so far documented as holding the most in terms of area and depth (up to 10 meters). The mechanisms of accumulation and stability of soil Carbon in the Amazon is an open and intriguing area of research since the warm conditions and fast decomposition rates in the tropics, predicted soil C accumulation to be low or limited. Yet peatlands I the Amazon have reached many
m of organic soil accumulations. We seek two postdoctoral candidates to join an application and fulfill the following roles: mechanistically evaluate the rates of C inputs and stability from different biomass components among sites with contrasting NPP, geochemistry and respiration rates leading to CH4 emissions (position 1) and develop modeling approaches to estimate rates of accumulations across a broad area (spatial modeling) and model the response of such rates under water manipulation scenarios simulating climate driven increase or decrease of rain/flood (position 2).

The team include Prof Hinsby Cadillo-Quiroz (ASU), Dr Outi Lahteenoja (ASU), Rodil Tello (UNAP), David Urquiza (UNAP) among others. Salaries are highly competitive and will be given by CONCYTEC (PERU) and World Bank program. Relocation expenses are available. Candidates must have completed their PhD no earlier than 6 years ago, and have a record of publications in desired field. Please reach Dr Cadillo hinsby@asu.edu along with a CV by Sept 18 or ASAP.

WANTED: Peatland and mangrove specialists @FAO

The FAO peatland team is opening a roster for consultancy applications on the topic below, from short- to longer-term positions in various locations and for different types and length of experiences:

Remote sensing, monitoring and/or management and sustainable livelihoods specialist – peatlands and mangroves

If interested, please see the details below, and then apply through the FAO employment portal at the latest on Wednesday 24 July, or feel free to share the vacancy announcement with your networks:


If you have questions, please contact Maria Nuutinen* on maria.nuutinen@fao.org.

*Forestry Officer – Peatlands, REDD+ and National Forest Monitoring cluster, Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Skype for business & Skype: maria.pauliina.nuutinen

Office +39 06 570 53284



Join the Online Community on Peatlands and Climate Change: http://bit.ly/peatlands-community


Technical Focus

In particular, the work will focus on: Contributing to technical work related to wetland and high-carbon ecosystem (especially peatlands and mangroves) through: satellite data processing and field data analysis for monitoring, mapping, land use planning, management and/or livelihood development on peatlands in wet condition (paludiculture).

Minimum Requirements

  • Advanced university degree  (for Consultants) / University degree (only for PSA) related to remote sensing, earth observation, climate change, natural resource management (e.g. hydrology), environmental policy and sciences, forestry, land use planning or similar,
  • For all work streams: At least 2 years of relevant working experience, in particular on climate change and/or hydrology,
  • For the monitoring work stream: At least 2 years of relevant experience in land-use related remote sensing and/or data analysis,
  • Working knowledge of English, French and/or Spanish and limited knowledge of French or Spanish or Arabic, Chinese, Russian for COF.REG.
  • Working knowledge of English, French and/or Spanish for PSA.SBS.

Technical/Functional Skills

Please note that while these skills are desirable, the candidate does not need to cover all the preferred qualifications mentioned below:

  • Extent and relevance of experience in knowledge, education and work experience on climate change and peatlands / mangroves and land use;
  • Monitoring: Extent and relevance of experience in R, Python, and JavaScript, especially as applied to land surface monitoring. Use of Google’s Earth Engine is an asset;
  • Work experience together with national and/or subnational institutions;
  • Working knowledge of one or more of the local languages for the duty station country is an advantage (nb. for PSA contracts one language is acceptable,  including spoken and written English / Bahasa / French / Spanish;
  • Skills or experience in: greenhouse gas emission estimates / reporting / verification; land use planning; hydrology; land and water management; mapping; training; policies; economics; value chain development and other related fields;
  • Statistical studies or experience with data analysis and quality control;
  • Work experience in more than one location or area of work;
  • Familiarity with the duty station (country to be mentioned in the application) and its peatlands and/or mangroves;
  • Experience of working together with a team, and independence to work under minimum guidance following the agreed work plan;
  • Preferred: Experience in compiling training materials, audio-visual materials and documents; and
  • Proficiency with Microsoft package, in particular Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive and other co-working platforms.

Two more peaty postdocs

There are two postdoctoral positions now available at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, both working on the restoration dynamics of tropical peatlands in Indonesia.

One is focused on plant ecology, working with Dr. Janice Lee and Prof. David Wardle, with more info here; and the other is focused on societal aspects, working with Dr. Lee, for which you can read more here.

Great and important projects; excellent PIs; and it’s all about peat.  Good luck applicants!  (And do spread the word to anyone else whom might be interested.)

Into the Swamp: Stories from the Peatlands of Borneo

Coming to Leicester (UK) from the 2-7th of April 2019, Newarke Houses Museum.


Sara Thornton wades through the Sebangau peat-swamp forest in Indonesian Borneo. Photo by Jessica Thornton, 2015.

Join Dr Sara Thornton, Dr Sarah Cook and researchers from the University of Leicester and Borneo Nature Foundation on a journey into the amazing tropical peatlands of Borneo. Learn about the ecology of these forests and the threats that these vital habitats are facing through the stories and photographs of field researchers. The exhibition will accompany these photographs from the field with materials that explain the science and ecology of tropical peatlands, why they are relevant to even us in Leicester, and what you can do to help conservation efforts. See what a day in the life of a tropical peatland researcher looks like and have the chance to ask them any questions you can think of!

With support from Professor Susan Page (University of Leicester) and made possible by the British Ecological Society.

We are also collecting donations for the Borneo Nature Foundation; a not-for-profit conservation and research organisation who works to protect some of the most important areas of tropical rainforest, and to safeguard the wildlife, environment and indigenous culture on Borneo. See more information here: http://www.borneonaturefoundation.org/en/

Keep up to date with the event by liking our Facebook page: https://web.facebook.com/IntotheSwamp/

Peatland carbon stocks survey needs EXPERTS!

Calling all peatland experts….

Julie Loisel or Angela Gallego-Sala, the PAGES C-PEAT Steering Committee, have prepared a survey to assess the past, present, and future of peatland carbon stocks and fluxes. All peatland experts are invited to participate. 

They are using an expert assessment approach to identify and quantify the main drivers of change in peatland carbon cycling (temperature, moisture balance, sea level, nitrogen deposition, fire, permafrost, land use, atmospheric pollution). Tropical and high-latitude regions are treated independently.

Everyone who completes the survey will be offered co-authorship on a community paper highlighting the main findings from this survey. They anticipate submitting the manuscript to Nature Geosciences in 2019.

To participate:

1- download this C-PEAT_ExpertAssessmentSurvey

2- read the instructions and fill out the 3 survey questions (it’s okay if the Table format changes as you fill them out)

3- save your file as a PDF

4- follow the link below to submit your final PDF and answer the census questions

5- complete the survey by December 05 2018.



Do not hesitate to contact Julie Loisel (julieloisel at tamu . edu) or Angela Gallego-Sala (A.Gallego-Sala at exeter . ac . uk) if you have questions or comments.

On behalf of the C-PEAT steering committee, they thank you for your participation.


Peat’s worst enemy is….?

**Important, mega-quick survey alert**

Roxane Anderson (U. Highlands & Islands) and Richard Payne (U. York) are working on a project on Global Peatland threats. As part of the project, they are looking to gather responses from the peatland community around the world on what they consider to be the greatest threats to peatlands. They have designed a very short survey for that purpose and would like to distribute it as widely as possible.

The link for the survey is here: https://goo.gl/forms/4UpfwEJuLNejS4Hy1.

Your (anonymous) answers will contribute to a scientific paper that will be circulated widely when published (and we’ll try to get the authors to post a summary blog about it here!).

Please feel free to send the link onwards to your own networks.

Thank you for contributing to this important work.