View over peat bogs at Forsinard, Scotland towards Ben Griam Beag

Flow Country peat bogs at Forsinard, Scotland. Photo: lucentius / Getty Images .

This study adapted methods developed in the medical research community in order to create greater potential for research data synthesis across studies. The capacity to synthesize data from multiple studies is critical if they are to effectively inform policy and practice. Therefore, the aim of the work presented in this paper was to focus on what to measure in peatlands research and not how to measure or report it.

Setting out to achieve consensus in the research and monitoring community, the authors used a framework to identify and prioritize sets of key variables – core domain sets – for UK blanket and raised bogs and tropical peat swamps. This was further developed in consultation with an international group of experts through workshops and questionnaires. This structured elicitation and prioritization process focused on measuring and reporting outcomes related to climate, hydrology, biodiversity and fire in peatlands.

The authors suggested that a broader adoption of reporting guidelines and the development of core domain sets would be beneficial for conservation biology and the environmental sector, as well as to the study of peatlands. Further exploration of core domain sets and reporting guidelines by research, policy and practice communities was also recommended.