January 2022 - Issue 78
The Wetland Knowledge Exchange (WKE) is the official voice of the Canadian Conservation and Land Management Knowledge Network's Wetland Knowledge Portal. The WKE is a venue for sharing wetland information to raise awareness, increase information transfer, and build a community of practice. Explore the Wetland Knowledge Portal here.

Monthly Webinar Series 

Join us for the Wetland Knowledge Exchange's first webinar of the new year.

In January, join Scott Davidson presenting on 'No longer just the Swamp of Sadness: an insight into the value of forested wetland ecosystems (swamps) as natural climate solutions'.

January 19, 2023 from 12:00 - 1:00 MDT
Register here

Miss a past webinar?  Be sure to check out past webinar recordings here.

World Wetlands Day 2023

February 2, 2023 is World Wetlands Day! This years theme, Wetland Restoration, emphasizes the need to restore, protect, and conserve wetlands.

Want to learn more about wetlands? Check out these events:



University of Lethbridge researchers assisting in nationwide wetlands study

Why the Dene Tha' are forging a plan to protect a northern Alberta lake

A Policy for the Stewardship of Yukon’s Wetlands released

The Boreal, Biodiversity and Indigenous Guardians with Valérie Courtois

The potential of peatlands as nature-based climate solutions: A review

World Wetlands Day 2023: It’s time to wetland restoration

What did COP15 do for wetlands?

Wetlands International welcomes the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Agreement



University of Waterloo Ecohydrology Research Group World Wetlands Day Celebration
Waterloo, Ontario
February 1, 2023

Mount Royal University World Wetlands Symposium 2023
Calgary, Alberta
February 2, 2023

Water Management in Alberta's Boreal
Grande Prairie, Alberta
February 15-16, 2023

Alberta Soil Science Workshop 2023
Calgary, Alberta
February 21-23, 2023

13th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference
Calgary, AB
February 21-23, 2023

CLRA Alberta Chapter 2023 AGM & Conference
Edmonton, Alberta
February 22-24, 2023

Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Conference
Calgary, Alberta
March 9-12, 2023

View a full list of events here. 

New Resources

Wetlands and Water Quality

Wetlands provide irreplaceable ecosystem services and are particularly important for water quality. Wetlands can act as nutrient sinks for common nutrients such as phosphorus. As water moves across the landscape, wetlands work to reduce direct surface water drainage into lakes and filter these nutrients out and store them. However, when wetlands are removed from the landscape, these areas may become a source of phosphorus and other contaminants resulting in lower water quality in lakes.  

In Alberta, many lakes in the southern parts of the province suffer from increased nutrient loading, resulting in blue-green algae blooms. Toxic blue-green algae can lead to a decline in dissolved oxygen and thus decrease habitat quality for fish and other aquatic wildlife. The removal of wetlands not only affects wildlife but can also decrease the effectiveness of water treatment facilities. Learn more about the importance of wetlands and nutrient filtering in a presentation by Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Tracy Scott here.

Report: Global Peatland Assessment

The Global Peatland Assessment (GPA), produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) aims to provide an improved understanding of the status of peatlands, how peatlands can be used as nature-based solutions, and what can be done to protect, restore, conserve, and sustainably manage these unique wetlands. Despite their importance, industrial activities can result in peatland drainage, making them more susceptible to environmental threats such as fire and permafrost thaw.  

A key recommendation of the report is for governments to invest in mapping the distribution of peatlands at a national level due to unsatisfactory peatland inventories at a global scale. The Global Peatland Map 2.0 project is highlighted and aims to identify the distribution of peatlands globally, highlighting areas in need of conservation and areas where potential peatlands may exist based on physical properties and remote sensing data. However, the map is based on remote sensing and does not currently include the presence of peat. The assessment emphasizes the importance of ground observations to support remotely sensed information. The GPA report also provides insight into the use of sustainable peatland management as a tool for slowing natural losses by acting as global carbon stores, wildlife habitats, and mitigating climate change effects. Read the full report here.

Impact of Climate Change on Sphagnum Moss Habitat

Sphagnum moss, a dominant species in peatland systems, plays a key role in peatland hydrological function and carbon sequestration. As a result, Sphagnum moss can be used as an indicator species to determine the extent to which peatlands are affected by climate change.  

To better understand how climate change might impact the geographical distribution of Sphagnum mosses, Ma et al. (2022) simulated different greenhouse gas emission scenarios. They find that as the severity of the climate scenarios increased, the geographical distribution of Sphagnum mosses shifted towards the north. Potential areas of concern included southern boreal peatlands where drier and warmer conditions may result in a transition from a carbon sink to carbon source. Further, Ma et al. find that in northern peatlands a rise in temperature, precipitation, and permafrost thaw would allow the mosses to thrive. However, Ma et al. identify that these shifts may accelerate the release of greenhouse gases and suppress non-Sphagnum plant growth, leading to a decline in peatland health. Learn more here.

Did you know?
Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), which can be used fresh or pressed into juice, is commercially produced in northern peatlands?  In Canada, cranberries are produced in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. This berry is harvested from peatlands by flooding the area, which causes the berry to float and allows for easy harvesting. Learn more about cranberry bog farms in chapter 7 of the Global Peatlands Assessment: The State of the World’s Peatlands.
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