The study tour participants walking on the Abeleix Bog’s boardwalk, Ireland

Climate challenges pose substantial challenges that vastly exceed our ability to adapt using purely technical solutions. Fortunately, nature also offers Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for climate change challenges. Wetlands, for example, provide these ‘Natural Climate Buffers’ (NCBs) for free and on a vast scale. Thus, the importance of wetlands in Europe is now more apparent than ever. Protecting and restoring these areas, which often have a challenging suite of stakeholders and vested interests, is best achieved by sharing knowledge and practical experience. The 3rd Eurosite Natural Climate Buffers Study Tour in Ireland from 27-29 September 2021 aimed to foster this sharing through on-the-ground observations and collaborative workshops. The study tour focused on peatland restoration.

Meetup on top of the raised Abeleix Bog

Notably, the study tour did not aim to re-state existing barriers to wetland restoration but to analyse why pre-identified solutions have not been applied to date. In other words, to discuss the “barriers to implementation” so that real progress can be made on this highly time-sensitive endeavour. These barriers included a lack of cross-sectoral cooperation and the opaque nature of communicating the benefits of wetlands to a broader set of stakeholders, especially in terms of climate adaptation. When relying on the support of a network of voluntary community actors, this latter perception barrier is fundamental. We are happy to share the full workshop report, which is available here.