UK peatland burning

Photo: Andreas Heinemeyer / SEI.

Despite substantial contrary evidence, there has been a growing tendency to present prescribed vegetation burning as a management practice that is always damaging to peatland ecosystems in the UK. This is exemplified by the “Burning and Peatlands ” position statement published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature UK Peatland Programme . While the authors strongly agree with several of the statements made within this position statement, they also identified that it contains a series of unverified assertions and misleading arguments that they say seemingly serve to simplify the narrative and paint prescribed burning as a wholly damaging peatland management tool.

Given that this position statement is published by one of the UK’s most prominent peatland conservation organizations, it is likely to be consulted when debating upland land use policy. Therefore, for the benefit of policymakers, the authors provide a point-by-point critical review of the “Burning and Peatlands” position statement. They also discuss several further points for researchers and policymakers to consider that are consistently ignored by those attempting to simplify the narrative about prescribed burning.