Back to events


Science cooperation and experience sharing on sustainable management of carbon-rich wetlands

Sustainable management of carbon-rich wetlands




Ruoergai, Hongyuan County, China

Date & Time

26 July 2024 to 28 July 2024

Organisers: ICIMOD and Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

About the event

This regional workshop will bring together participants to share experiences in managing wetlands/peatlands, discuss criteria and methodologies for mapping carbon-rich wetlands, and agree on workplans for future regional collaboration on wetland management.

It is being jointly organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Chengdu Institute of Biology (Chinese Academy of Sciences) from 26-28 July 2024 in Ruoergai, Hongyuan County in Western Sichuan, China. The workshop will be attended by nearly 30 scientists, policy makers and wetland managers from Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.


Wetlands play an important role in ensuring water and food security; increasing resilience to climate change; supporting livelihoods and cultural identities; and securing habitats for different species of plants and animals. In recent times, there has been extensive discussion about their ecosystem services, particularly focusing on carbon sequestration and its potential to mitigate climate change. This discourse is no longer confined within the academic community but has garnered attention and media coverage during global events such as COP27 of UNFCCC and COP14 of Ramsar. However, complex development dynamics and global warming, coupled with limited awareness on the contribution made by wetlands to societal well-being, has put tremendous pressure on wetlands. Wetlands continue to be degraded and lost due to conversion for alternate uses, fragmentation of hydrological regimes, pollution, species invasion, unsustainable tourism, overharvesting of resources and regional climate change.

Peatlands, characterized by their accumulation of peat, play a special role in the discourse on wetlands due to their important functions in carbon sequestration and water conservation. In the HKH region, despite the widespread presence of different kinds of wetlands, knowledge on the distribution, types, volume, and tends of changes associated with peatlands is very limited. As indicated in the Global Peatland Outlook (GPM2.0) there is no information available on the peatlands of Nepal, and the data on peatlands for Bangladesh, China, India, and Myanmar remains incomplete at the national level.

Due to the presence of many small peatlands in HKH region, high-resolution mapping is very essential. Besides, the varying standards for defining peatlands have led to considerable uncertainty in estimating soil carbon stocks, overlooking the contribution of non-peatland carbon-rich wetlands and contributing to soil carbon loss through peat exploitation and reclamation. A more inclusive criteria for “peatland” would be important to include all carbon-rich wetlands, including intact peatlands, some degraded peatlands, and non-peatland wetlands, to effectively mitigate climate change.

In its fifth Mid-term Action Plan (MTAP V) (2023-2026), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has included high-altitude wetlands as an important subject within its Action Area on Restoring and Regenerating Landscapes (Action Area D). To generate knowledge on the extent and status of peatlands in the HKH, ICIMOD plans to conduct mapping and rapid assessment of the management status of the important wetlands (mainly Ramsar Sites) and peatlands to advocate for policy changes and increase investments from member countries for the management of such areas and identify areas for regional collaboration.

Chengdu Institute of Biology (CIB) of Chinese Academy of Sciences is a partner of ICIMOD in implementing MTAP V. It is a leading Chinese institute researching high-altitude wetlands, especially peatlands. in the HKH region. Over the years, based on its well-established field station and network, scientists from CIB have carried out several studies in the Ruoergai wetland area, which is in Western Sichuan Province and is regarded as the world’s largest high-altitude peatland. ICIMOD wishes to work with CIB to make use of the expertise and experience in peatland research to support member countries in generating regional data on peatlands. This is extremely important for assessing the carbon sequestration potential of these peatlands and to promote regional learning on sustainable peatland management.


The regional workshop is aimed at enhancing collaboration in research and management of high-altitude wetlands, with a focus on carbon-rich wetlands. The specific objectives are:

  • To exchange research findings and management experiences on carbon-rich wetlands.
  • To discuss and agree on definitions and criteria for carbon-rich wetlands.
  • To build partnership and community of practice for peatland research and management.

Expected outputs

  • Establishment of regional or international research network on carbon-rich wetlands.
  • Development of criteria and methodologies for mapping of carbon-rich wetlands.
  • Identification of areas and workplan for regional collaboration on peatland mapping and monitoring.