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Anales del Instituto de la Patagonia

versión On-line ISSN 0718-686X


VALDES-BARRERA, Ariel; REPETTO, Fiorella; FIGUEROA, Alejandra  y  SAAVEDRA, Bárbara. Proceedings of workshop: knowledge and assessment of the patagonian’s peatlands: oportunities and challenges (24 & 25 november, 2011, Punta Arenas). Anales Instituto Patagonia (Chile) [online]. 2012, vol.40, n.2, pp.67-82. ISSN 0718-686X.

Peatlands are wetlands of global importance due to their capacity of storing huge amounts of carbon and water, as well as for housing a high percentage of exclusive flora and fauna. Only 4% of global peatlands are in South America, mainly in Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia. Worldwide, peatlands are threatened directly and indirectly by human activity. Sphagnum- a moss- key component of Patagonian peatlands, along with the peat that results from its partial decomposition- are highly demanded in a whole range of industries for their capacity to retain up to 20 times of its dry weight in water, as well as for other uses such as filtering. In Chile, peat is considered a mineral and its exploitation is under the Mining law. Furthermore, Patagonian peatlands are exposed to other threats such as draining and habitat modification, invasion of introduced species, climate change and lack of appreciation. Taking into consideration this critical situation, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Chilean Ministry of Environment convened the Workshop "Knowledge and appreciation of Patagonian peatlands: Opportunities and Challenges" (November 24th and 25th 2011) in Punta Arenas, Chile. The workshop offered the opportunity for updating on current knowledge of Patagonian peatlands, and on discussing guidelines regarding its conservation, research and regulation. The discussion highlighted the need for basic and applied research on peatlands, an inventory of Patagonian wetlands, and the need for developing outreach and education to increase their appreciation. A Binational Conservation Strategy and improved regulation allowing to deal with the complexity of these ecosystems as a whole are also deemed necessary.

Palabras clave : Patagonia; peatlands; peatbogs; wetlands; Sphagnum; peat.

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