Paludiculture UK 2017 brought together stakeholders from farming, the peat industry, horticulture, government, academia, and environmental non-government organisations to stimulate conversation about paludiculture, the productive use of wet and re-wetted lowland peatlands in the UK.
Key questions were debated: what is paludiculture? Where and when could it be necessary in the UK? What are the challenges, incentives and opportunities? Who are the key partners? What is the market potential? Can it be a viable, sustainable alternative land use option to more traditional agriculture on wetlands?
Interactive exchange sessions were informed by a series of keynote speakers, including experts from Germany and other leaders in the field of paludiculture. The workshop concluded with a field trip to the Lyth valley on the edge of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, England. The field trip consolidated the discussions had on the first day by visiting example sites, to look at the reality of managing wet habitats for agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and discuss paludiculture possibilities which may be suitable.
An important aim of Paludiculture UK was to offer networking opportunities. We hope the event inspired debate among participants and beyond on the potential of paludiculture in the UK. The workshop results will be taken forward to shape future paludiculture pilot projects in the UK and will hopefully inform future policy and debates. The time to act is now!