Lab Canada

$1.2M to stimulate research in peat bog management

Quebec City, QC November 28, 2003 The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) has created a new industrial research chair at Universit Laval aimed at restoring bogs after peat extraction.

The new chair will receive $ 1,247,950 over five years from NSERC. Partners will provide a further $1,600,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.

"Following a disturbance, natural plant recolonization of peat bogs is extremely slow and, if it occurs at all, the species that become established are often birch or shrubs," says Line Rochefort, the first holder of the new chair. "In most cases, we lose the wetland. We will now be in a position to develop rehabilitation techniques that allow us to reintroduce the cover of peat moss (the green carpet of the understorey) or to restore value through the cultivation of trees or northern berries."

A group of 22 people, including nine master’s and doctoral students and one postdoctoral researcher, forms the core of the team.

NSERC president Tom Brzustowski noted that Ms Rochefort’s expertise in this field is well known. "A world-renowned expert in peat bog restoration, Ms Rochefort is the ideal person to develop integrated sustainable peat bog management in Canada," says Mr Brzustowski. "This multidisciplinary research project will allow her to continue research that has been supported by NSERC for 10 years. Working with the industrial partners will be a great experience for the students involved in the project."

NSERC’s partners in this initiative are SunGro Horticulture, Premier Horticulture, the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association, Fafard Peat Moss, Berger Peat Moss, Lameque Quality Group, Acadian Peat Moss, ABS Greenworld, Modugno-Hortibec, Lambert Peat Moss, Fafard et Frres, Nirom Peat Moss and the Government of New Brunswick.

This industrial research chair is one of many funded by NSERC through its Research Partnerships Programs, which support high-level research with social or industrial value and the transfer of the results to Canadian organizations. The funding of the chairs is determined by a rigorous peer review process in which the merits of research proposals are carefully assessed.