Canadian National Committee of the IPS

Chair

Dr. Jean-Yves Daigle
Canadian Society for Peat and Peatlands
196 15 ième Rue 
Shippagan, NB E8S 1E8 
CANADA
e-mail: jydaigle (at) nb.sympatico.ca

Secretary

Paul Short
Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association
13 Mission Avenue Suite 2208
St. Albert, AB T8N 1H6
CANADA
phone: +1 780 460 8280
e-mail: cspma (at) peatmoss.com
web: www.peatmoss.com

Annual Report 2015

Environmental Stewardship

Extensive support for research and development in areas of environmental interests particularly on peatland restoration, biodiversity, hydrology and greenhouse gas emissions have been maintained and strengthened. The national science coordinator, Stéphanie Boudreau provided overall leadership and guidance.

Key outcomes:

International cooperation: There was a presentation at the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) World Conference; Manchester, and initial efforts were made in support of a Canadian/Baltic research initiative on restoration. Peat research workshops were held in Alberta, Manitoba, Québec, and New Brunswick in association with the Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG). The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Industrial Research Chair in Peatland Management and Collaborative Research & Development Grant (CRD) continued to be implemented across the expanded national programs (Alberta, Manitoba, Québec, New Brunswick).

Information was provided to the participants from Environment Canada (Federal Government) who attended the COP12 of RAMSAR in Uruguay regarding concerns with the Resolutions proposed by the Scandinavian countries affecting peatlands.

Investigated efforts by the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) as it develops a carbon accounting protocol for inclusion of the peatlands carbon in the Forest Carbon Budget model for Canada.

Social Stewardship

There were meetings of the Canadian industry Association, federally, provincially and internationally to promote the concerns and interests of the peatland and peat resources.

Meetings were held with Alberta Geological Surveys, Canadian Forest Services, Northern Office, and Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) to discuss peatland inventory, peatland carbon accounting and mapping. Meetings involved the Finnish Geological Survey (Dr. Samu Valpola) who introduced their advanced inventory and carbon calculations. Further bilateral discussions are ongoing.

Industry support continued for the IPS engagement in further international conventions and European policy efforts affecting peatlands. An Industry Social Responsibility (ISR) Report was completed and a Case Study was prepared for the FAO SAFA website.

A Harvest report was completed in September and a press release distributed. “The harvest season was adequate but lacked a strong harvest overall. Western Canada experienced early favourable weather conditions and a strong start to the year. This helped to minimize periodic negative weather related conditions during the balance of the harvest season and the harvest numbers are close to achieving the expected amounts.
In Québec the results are well below expectations. This is primarily due to a later start and continuous, often heavy rain throughout the balance of the season. In the Maritime Provinces, the harvest achieved met expected volumes.”

Communications

A new joint industry (CSPMA / APTHQ / NBPPA) web site was developed and launched in July.

Efforts continued on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) in joint research projects (Manitoba), operational trials and knowledge transfer related to wetlands and peatlands management in Canada.

A number of articles appeared in the DUC Conservator and IPS’ Peatlands International highlighting the joint work of the CSPMA and DUC.
The European Peat and Growing Media Association (EPAGMA) / Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has increased the exchange of information and action on items such as no net loss, the European Union’s (EU) carbon management challenges and Baltic research.

The peat industry’s contributions in support of the research work at the Université through the Industrial Research Chair in Peatland Management was recognize at a ceremony held in Québec City by the Université Laval.

An Industry Social Responsibility (ISR) Report was finalized and distributed. A communications firm was hired to distribute and promote the ISR document with extensive coverage in the US.

Resource Governance

Federal Government

Links with Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Canadian Forest Service regarding the management of peatlands and emissions accounting were maintained. The National Wetland Conservation Fund was promoted extensively as a means to support restoration and reclamation activities for wetlands.

Work continued with the development of a National Roundtable on Wetland Conservation in cooperation with a number of other associations, Federal agencies and Environmental Non-governmental Organizations (ENGO’s).

Provincial Governments

At the Provincial level of government, extensive consultation and engagement continued throughout the year.

In Alberta the Wetland Policy continues to be implemented.
The peat industry continued to meet with the Government of Alberta in the development of the Peat Management Framework. At present, efforts continue with the government agencies to determine criteria for restoration/reclamation of peatlands as well as applications for exploration and leasing.

In Manitoba, the Peatlands Stewardship and Related Amendments Act (Bill 61) was approved and regulations were partially proclaimed. The responsibility for implementation shifts to a newly created Forestry and Peat Management Branch.
The establishment of the Peat Practices Committee is a current priority of Government.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) proposed A Strategic Plan for Ontario Wetlands 2015 - 2030 that will identify a provincial vision, goals and objectives for wetlands in Ontario. It proposes to set out a series of actions that the government will undertake over the next 15 years to improve wetland conservation.The provinces Far North Plan has identified peatland management values and additional discussions are ongoing.

The Quebec Peat Producers Association, through the efforts of Genevieve Potvin has been engaged in the development of new management approaches to the development of peatlands throughout the province.

The New Brunswick Peat Producers Association (NBPPA) has strengthened its involvement with the provincial government and the Coastal Zone Research Institute. Jacques Thibault has taken on the responsibilities as General Manager of the Association.

Annual Report 2014

Governance

The Province of Alberta has continued to implement the Wetland Policy in the White or private land area of the province. Work continues on the preparation of policies and programs that are needed to implement the Policy in the public lands or Green area. Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD) introduced a new Management Framework for peatlands that will require engagement of the industry with a completion expected in 2015.

Manitoba approved Bill 61: The Peatlands Stewardship and Related Amendments Act. The Act will not be proclaimed until the Regulations are finalized which is expected in the summer of 2015. Within the Conservation and Water Stewardship Department a new unit, The Peat Practices Committee, has been established to help implement the Act and guide the management of peatlands. When the proclamation of the Act occurs the moratorium on new approvals for peat development will be lifted.

Quebec’s government has continued with the amendments to the legislation that regulates the management and development of the peat industry.  The Quebec Peat Producers Association has been engaged in the legislative and planning changes.

The Province of Ontario has indicated that it will begin the process of developing a Wetland/Water Policy in the coming year.

Environment Canada, through a joint research initiative with the University of Montreal and the industry identified CO2 emissions values from horticultural peat. The findings are being applied in developing the Government’s Annual National Reporting and Accounting of Emissions. Preliminary efforts have begun on developing a peat carbon value for the Canadian Forest Carbon Budget model.

Research

The second year of the NSERC Chair and CRD program continued investigations of the biodiversity, hydrology and greenhouse gas functions of the natural and restored peatlands in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and New Brunswick. In Alberta, a joint Northern Alberta Institute of Alberta (NAIT) /PERG Seminar and Workshop was held 3-4 September 2014. This involved peatland research on restoration of in-situ well sites in Peace River and a field tour at the Seba Beach site.

The 20th PERG Symposium, Responsible Management of peatlands: Involvement of the industrial Sector was held in Quebec City on 19-20 February 2014. Discussions on research programing needs in Manitoba were initiated with the Manitoba government with the announcement of a two-year program by the Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship, Honourable Gord Macintosh at the Annual General Meeting of the CSPMA in November 2014.

Within Alberta initial discussions were held with a representative of Finland. Much of the new research discussion focused on climate change implications, particularly carbon emissions and sequestration. There has also been a significant increase in the engagement of industries other than the horticultural peat industry.

Industry

The peat industry’s 2014 harvest In Eastern Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island), was considerably below average due to a late and interrupted start to the harvest season combined with a wet late summer. Production was at or slightly above expectations In Québec’s North Shore. However, due to weather related harvest challenges the harvest on Québec’s South Shore was below average.

For most of the harvest season Alberta experienced a below average to well-below average harvest level primarily due to adverse weather. However, was adjusted slightly due to favorable weather conditions in September and part of October. Manitoba and Saskatchewan experienced varied harvest weather conditions, with an average level of production being achieved in these provinces.

The CSPMA finalized its initial Industry Social Responsibility Report which was the culmination of work on their eLCA, SocioEconomicLCA, and certification process. The report was prepared by Group AGECO and based on the FAO Sustainable Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA).

Annual Report 2012

Governance

Studies continued with Environment Canada on the study Quantifying the Potential Mitigation Impact of Peatland Management and Restoration. Continued efforts to engage with Federal agencies for the improvement in responsible management of peatland resources.

Alberta completed final documentation on its Wetland Policy including a report on relative wetland values, a mapping program and a mitigation report. Efforts continued to engage the government in preparation of a peatland management strategy, regulatory disposition reform and guidelines for restoration/reclamation. Increased attention has identified the implications of peatland removal and challenges to reclamation by the heavy oil and non conventional energy development.

The province of Manitoba has continued its preparation of the Peatland Strategy and legislation. Stakeholder meetings were held to provide input. In addition the government identified its long term strategic plan TomorrowNow; Manitoba’s Green Plan. The strategic plan involves consideration of wetlands throughout the province.

Research

The University Laval and its peat industry partners applied and were approved for a 3rd term of research through the Industrial Peatland Management Chair. Additionally, the consortiums applied and were approved for a 5 year Collaborative Research and Development Grant which expands the networking of peatland scientists as well as extends the research into western Canada. The focus of the research programs will be to examine the biodiversity, hydrology and climate change implications of responsible peatland management, restoration and rehabilitation.

Industry

The harvest has significantly improved from last year’s poor season. In eastern Canada the industry achieved higher than expected volumes. In central Canada the production was on or marginally above expectations. An earlier start, combined with favorable weather conditions, contributed to the results in both regions. In western Canada, harvest was impacted by a slower start and more adverse weather. Volumes are slightly below expectations. The outcome is a marked improvement in the harvest volume over last year. It is anticipated that further adjustments may be made dependent on the ability to harvest in the fall season. This will be particularly true for western Canada.

At present there are 7 companies that have achieved certification under the SCS VeriFlora Responsibly Managed Peatland certification. This represents approximately 75-80% of the entire peat production for Canada. An upgrade of the Environmental LCA was completed and a new Socio/Economic LCA evaluation was completed and a new product fact sheet has been produced.

A contract with Group Ageco was signed to produce the initial Industrial Social Responsibility Report for the industry. The initiative was identified by the FAO as one of 20 pilot programs for its Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture (SAFA) program.

 

Annual Report 2011

Governance:

Environment Canada has engaged with the industry in a program to improve the understanding of the amount and rate at which horticultural peatlands will be developed and restored. The project is linked to evaluating emission mitigation and the reporting and accounting of GHG’s.
Federal programs related to trade challenges and development opportunities for horticultural peat were investigated.

A Canadian National Workshop was held during the International peat symposium in Quebec City.  The June workshop facilitated the exchange of information, statistics and know-how on Canadian peatland management. Provincially there has been a continued growth in the responsible management of peatland resources.

Alberta completed drafting a regional plan which acknowledges the role of commercial horticultural peat harvesting as an existing resource use. Wetland Policy development reached a draft stage and further discussion on wetland mitigation practices are under consideration. Internally the Department of Sustainable Development developed a peat management framework.

Manitoba continued the development of its Peatland Stewardship Strategy.
A new ministry was formed called Conservation and Water Stewardship; which will oversee the development of the Peat Strategy and the creation of new legislation and regulations during the 2 year moratorium on new quarry leases and quarry permit. The moratorium does permit the issuing of environmental permits and licenses for existing quarry leases.

Quebec’s government has continued with the amendments to the legislation which regulates the management and development of the peat industry. The government also announced Plan Nord, a strategic land use and development plan which will impact the peat industry. The Quebec peat producers Association has been engaged in the legislative and planning changes.

Research:

The 10 year results at Bois de Bel produced excellent results regarding biodiversity, hydrology and GHG emissions from a restored bog. The Peatland Ecological Research Group (PERG) under the stewardship of the Industrial Research Chair will be releasing the results in the coming year.
The Bic Saint-Fabien fen and wet meadow restoration work is continuing.

In June the International Symposium: Responsible Peatland Management and Growing Media Production attracted 263 participants from 15 different countries. Congratulations to the co-chair organizers Dr. Line Rochefort and Dr. Jean Caron.

Industry

Continuous and heavy rainfall conditions throughout Eastern Canadian peat harvest regions impacted the ability of the industry to harvest. The areas hardest hit were the provinces of New Brunswick and Québec. These areas account for 60 to 70 percent of all of Canada’s peat production. The outcome was that overall the industry faced its poorest peat harvest season. The industry worked with its commercial business partners to minimize the short term impacts for the horticultural and agricultural industries.

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) of California,  the independent agency that has worked with the peat industry, government regulators and the scientific research community issued the final approval of  the VeriFlora® - Responsibly Managed Peatland certification (www.veriflora.com).  The number of Canadian producers that are or will be achieving certification is currently at a level where the majority of the commercial horticultural peat produced in Canada will be certified.

An Environmental Product Fact Sheet was published that provided the quantitative environmental information on the life cycle of Canadian peat in horticulture.  Further work is being carried out to upgrade the Environmental LCA as well as conducting a Socio/Economic LCA. The results of the new information should be available in early 2012.

The Quebec Peat Association (APTHQ) and the New Brunswick Peat Producer Association (NBPPA) have continued to provide support to provincial as well as national sustainability, communications and market development interests.  Work has begun with the NBPPA and the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA) on initial biodiversity statements and the development of a Corporate Sustainability Report.

The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA) endorsed the International Peat Societies publication Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management, as well as producing its own document Sustainability Canadian Horticultural Peat Industry: Position Paper.  Both documents were widely distributed among government agencies, academic institutions and the horticultural communities. During the international symposium in Quebec City a bilateral meeting of the IPS Executive Board and the Scientific Advisory Committee was held with the CSPMA Board of Directors.

Paul Short, CSPMA

Annual Report 2010

Governance:

Increasing concerns related to climate change, carbon management and wetland conservation have been the catalyst for governments throughout Canada to investigate new policies, strategies and legislation.

In Alberta peatlands are directly being considered in the development of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, as well as the Wetland Policy (draft). The regulatory process for leasing and allocation of peat for horticultural uses is being amended. Considerable effort is also being given by the oil sands industry in the restoration and reclamation of wetlands.

Manitoba has initiated discussions on a future boreal peatland strategy. A one day State of Knowledge Workshop, sponsored by Ducks Unlimited Canada, The Canadian Boreal Forest Initiative and the Manitoba government was held in Winnipeg, November 29th. It was emphasized that this is only a first step in a longer process involving many stakeholders.

Quebec’s government has been in discussions with industry over the revamping of the current legislation which governs the regulation and management of the peat industry.

Federally, work has continued on the improvement in measurement and reporting of GHG’s from horticultural peat harvesting operations. Efforts are underway to improve the partnership between the industry and Environment Canada to improve the measurement and management of peatlands.

Research:

The work of the Industrial Research Chair for peatland management has continued under the NSERC program. This year marked the 10th year of work on the Bois des Bel research bog. The results are currently being analyzed and reports are anticipated early in 2011. Fen and wet meadow restoration at Bic Saint-Fabien has also been underway. Interest in research work on sphagnum farming and its commercialization was maintained.

A natural disturbance impact on peatlands has continued through the NSERC supported research of Dr. Merritt Turetsky and Dr. Mike Waddington entitled "The effects of drought on the vulnerability of forested peatlands to wildfires".

An important conference entitled Reclamation and Restoration of Boreal Peatlands and Forest Ecosystems: Toward a Sustainable Future was held in Edmonton Alberta, March 25-27. The sessions were well attended by the research community, energy industry, forestry, government and the peat industry. Special thanks to the Organizing committee for a successful event. (Dr. Dale Vitt, Dr. Kel Wieder, Dr. Lee Foote, Dr. Jagtar Bhatti, Leonie Nadeau, Dr. Line Rochefort.)

Planning for the International Symposium; Responsible Peatland Management and Growing Media Production, www.peatlands2011.ulaval.ca to be held in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada June 13-17 of 2011 was ongoing.

Industry

The harvest year was a combination of good early and mid season results, especially in Eastern Canada, followed by a much reduced harvest volume in late summer and fall.  The overall result was in general, comparable to last year which was average to below average.

Prices over the year reflected both the seasonal supply variance and the slow economy in the US, our principle market. In midsummer prices were extremely competitive given the good harvest volumes. Later in the year prices were adjusted to reflect a balance between the slower harvest and demand.

Companies remained conservative in their business activities reflecting the challenges faced by a rising Canadian dollar and the economic events in the United States.

The industry maintained its focus on the sustainability initiatives.

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) of California, the independent agency that has worked with the peat industry, government regulators and the scientific research community completed the VeriFlora® - Responsibly Managed Peatland certification (www.veriflora.com). The certification is the first peatland management certification system globally.  A number of Canadian producers (Berger Peat Moss, Fafard et Frères, Premier Horticulture.) have been independently audited under the system and have achieved certification.

An Environmental Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) was carried out. The industry is conducting an upgrade to the Environmental LCA as well as conducting a Socio/Economic LCA during 2011.

The Quebec peat industry has strengthened its activities through the Quebec Peat Association (APTHQ). New Brunswick activities of the New Brunswick Peat Producer Association (NBPPA) have continued to provide support to that Provinces interests.

Nationally the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA) has engaged in increased communications initiatives to promote certification, sustainable resource allocation and responsible management of peatlands. Members have participated in active session at the Semi Annual and Annual meetings were presentations on emerging sustainable resource issues (carbon management, natural disturbances) and business challenges (economic forecast and business insurance issues) were highlighted.   Dr. Jean-Yves Daigle was recognized as an Honorary Member of the Association for his excellent support and service to the industry at this year’s Annual meeting.