Managing Peatland Ecosystem Services: Current UK Policy and Future Challenges in a Changing World

Stephen Whitfield*, Mark Reed, Ken Thomson, Mike Christie, Lindsay C. Stringer, Claire H. Quinn, Russell Anderson, Andrew Moxey, Klaus Hubacek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainable peatland management has recently risen up the UK political agenda as links between peatland ecosystem services and key political priorities, such as rural livelihoods, agricultural production, biodiversity conservation, and carbon emissions, have become established. By adopting an ecosystem approach, something that has become internationally advocated through the Convention on Biological Diversity, to understanding the objectives and sustainability of UK peatland management, this paper reviews contemporary policies relating to three broad categories of peatland ecosystem service (provisioning; regulating and cultural), developed at multiple levels (global to local). We highlight problems associated with incomplete knowledge about complex peatland ecosystem processes and disconnected policies and strategies. The review concludes by discussing the kinds of integrated land use policies that are beginning to emerge in the UK and may shape future peatland management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-230
Number of pages22
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPrint publication - Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • biodiversity
  • carbon storage
  • ecosystem services
  • provision services
  • trade-offs


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