BU professor named chair of international expert group on peatland restoration

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A Brandon University faculty member will soon head to Estonia for his first meetings in his new role as chair of the Expert Group: Peatland Restoration, part of the International Peatland Society.

Dr. Pete Whittington, an Associate Professor of Geography and peatlands researcher at BU, was named to the position earlier this month.

Head and shoulders photo of Pete Whittington, looking at the camera, in front of a black background
Dr. Pete Whittington

“I am quite honoured to be named to this role and I am looking forward to building relationships with international experts that would otherwise be difficult,” Whittington said. “This is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to ensure that the best possible science is in the hands of the policy-makers, governments and industries that are tackling the important work of managing and restoring our globe’s natural peatlands.”

Peatlands are a type of wetland where organic matter is buried under new layers of growth before it can fully decay. That makes peatlands a desirable growing medium to be added to gardens or used in greenhouses, but stripping the peat from peatlands can leave them unable to regenerate, altering the natural ecosystem. Whittington’s research at BU focuses on the best ways to restore peatlands to their original state and to encourage their regeneration.

Now, in his role at the International Peatland Society, Whittington will promote his and similar peer-reviewed research on a world-wide scale.

“Partly, we will provide written positions by experts for the International Peatland Society on matters relating to the sustainable use of peat and peatlands,” Whittington said. “My job will be to assemble a panel of international experts that can weigh in on issues as they arise, compile the responses, and, of course, weigh in myself.”

Whittington said he also hopes to host a conference or special session at a larger international conference on behalf of the International Peatland Society or to produce a special issue of a journal during his tenure.

“All of us at Brandon University and in the BU Faculty of Science are proud to see Dr. Whittington take on this role, which will help bring his important research to audiences around the world,” said BU Dean of Science Dr. Bernadette Ardelli.

“This is more evidence that the research that we do at BU truly can improve the world.”

Whittington will be heading to Tallinn, Estonia next month for the International Peatlands Society Commission and Expert Group Meeting, from Feb. 11–13.


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