Peatland restoration is a complex process that requires continuous monitoring to enable an adaptive, iterative landscape approach that meets local conditions, needs and aspirations. Peatland restoration monitoring can inform design, strategy, site selection and management approaches, as well as improve restoration outcomes through adjustments. Tested protocols that assess the fate of restored ecosystems are useful so practitioners and institutions can determine the success and failures of peatland restoration objectively. Of particular help are simple indicators that are easy to recognize, measure and monitor over time. A scientifically robust, reliable, and practical set of criteria and indicators could help key stakeholders assess the progress and outcomes of restoration efforts, so they can evaluate advances and whether restoration is heading in the right direction.
With this in mind, CIFOR organized a series of online workshops between September and December 2020, to explore and identify criteria and indicators for tropical peatland restoration through a consultative process involving practitioners, government agencies, researchers and community members. From this process it emerged that effective criteria and indicators for peatland restoration should capture aspects relating to rewetting drained peatlands, reducing fire risks, revegetating landscapes, reinforcing local governance structures, and revitalizing local communities’ socio-economic conditions (five Rs). The identified criteria and indicators cover four aspects of peatland restoration – biophysical, social, economic and governance – to capture the range of topics and issues that impact peatlands. These criteria and indicators are now ready for field testing, and when these have been successfully validated, can be adapted and adopted by relevant agencies for future restoration monitoring.