C-PEAT: Joint PAGES-INQUA workshop on tropical peatland processes and ecosystem services

01.09 - 30.12.2021  
Bangkok, Thailand
Contact person:
Sakonvan (Moo) Chawchai, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The PAGES Carbon in Peat on EArth through Time (C-PEAT) working group will hold a joint workshop with INQUA, titled "Tropical peatland processes and ecosystem services" sometime in late 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand, or potentially even in 2022.

This workshop was originally planned for 13-17 May 2020, then March 2021, but because of continuing COVID-19 disruptions and restrictions, the group leaders are closely monitoring the chances of an in-person meeting being even possible in 2021.

The dates have not been finalized. The correct dates will be announced as soon as possible.


Technical sessions will be held at:
Chaloem Rajakumari 60 Building
Chulalongkorn University
Phayathai Road, Phatumwan, Bangkok 10330


This is an open workshop for up to 30 participants. There is an intention to record parts of the workshop and share the videos live with a larger audience of peatland scientists who might not be able to attend and those who wish to minimize their carbon footprint.


Peatlands play a crucial role in the Earth System and provide important ecosystem services, supporting animal and plant biodiversity, carbon storage, water regulation, natural hazard regulation (floods, wildfires) and recreational benefits, amongst others. Peat profiles also provide archives of past environmental change and ecosystem sensitivity.

As such, research on peatlands is of interest to the wider public, because of the ecosystems themselves and the services they provide but also because of their role in feedbacks to climate change via the carbon cycle. For example, fires in drained Southeast Asian peatlands, in the Amazon rainforest and in Africa have been labelled "a crime against humanity" due to the haze and pollution they cause, while also releasing vast amounts of carbon to the atmosphere. Anthropogenic impacts and recent rapid forcings on peatland ecosystems have resulted in ecological and biogeochemical changes, some of which have been stored in the stratigraphic record.


This workshop is focused on long-term patterns and processes that govern peat formation in tropical peatlands. Group members are particularly interested to (1) compare processes between high-latitude and tropical peatlands, (2) connect our work with land-use change analysis, (3) develop, along with tropical stakeholders concerned with peatland resource management, a valuation system to quantify peatland ecosystem services.


The workshop will consist of two sessions:

Day 1: Oral & poster presentation sessions
Day 2-3: Workshop discussions leading to two main outputs:
i) A review paper of tropical peatland changes in the past, recent changes and likely trajectories into the future.
ii) The key questions that will form the basis for future work on peatlands in the tropics.


An optional excursion will be held on Day 4: A cultural day in Ayutthaya and stay overnight nearby Khao Yai National Park.
Excursion Fees 2500 Thai bahts (THB)/person. The fee is based on a shared twin room including lunch and dinner.
A single room may be requested with an additional charge.


- Develop a compilation dataset of paleorecords in the tropics during the Holocene and the anthropocene - this will serve as the main basis for developing our understanding of drivers of change in tropical peatlands.

- Stakeholder engagement. We plan to invite experts on stake-holder engagement and expertise in peatland management to the workshop to instigate discussion and gather information on the ecosystem’s services provided by tropical peatlands and how can the paleo-community best serve the preservation in these ecosystems.

Key speakers/participants

The workshop aims to be interdisciplinary, and bring together the paleo community, modelers and stakeholders to learn lessons from the past and recent changes that could help us understand and manage the fate of peatlands in the future. This fits within the aims of developing a more integrative place for the C-PEAT working group within the PAGES’ science structure through consideration of the effect of humans on peatland functioning, in order to inform adaptation strategies and specific solutions for policy makers and resource managers.

We aim to invite a number of ECRs and will host a poster session that will include undergraduate students to make this a fully inclusive workshop.

We are inviting scientists at all levels (including ECRs), and we are particularly keen on involving female scientists. We will send a broad invitation with the hope to reach out to scientists from developing countries too.

Potential speakers

Paleo proxy and observationalists:

- Angela Gallego-Sala (Uni. of Exeter, UK)
- David Beilman (University of Hawai’i, USA)
- Susan Page (University of Leicester, UK)
- Zicheng Yu (Lehigh University, USA)

ECR invited speakers:

- Julie Loisel (Texas A&M University, USA)
- Juan Carlos Benavides (Universidad Pontificiana de Bogota, Columbia)
- Gerard Imani (Université Officielle de Bukavu, Congo)

Two undergraduate students from Chulalongkorn University will also present posters.
Two undergraduate students from Southeast Asia will also present posters.

Financial support

PAGES has provided some financial support for the attendance of early-career researchers and researchers from developing countries. Details on how to apply for support will be made available as soon as possible.

Registration and deadlines

Details will be announced when available.


Participants who need to apply for entry visa to Thailand must contact the organizing committee for an official invitation letter, after you have registered.


This workshop will be the second workshop of C-PEAT's second phase (the first was held in Exeter, UK, in 2019). It aims to address the first and second objective of C-PEAT's Phase II goals: Expand databases to include tropical peatlands; and Predict peatland responses to natural and anthropogenic disturbance. This meeting will allow us to compile a temporal dataset for the tropics and plan out our research agenda and activities pertaining to ‘short-term peatland dynamics’ and anthropogenic pressures for the next three years.

Planned outcomes include: To summarize a compilation paleo-dataset from tropical peatlands; a better understanding of tropical peatland processes and resilience to recent climate and land use change; a compilation of the ecosystem services provided by tropical peatlands and how they relate to the paleo-record; better integration and collaboration between international scientists with expertise in paleo, present-day, and modeling from around the world (tropical and high-latitude peatlands), as well as a better integration of stakeholders.

Data stewardship

C-PEAT is in the process of making its entire peatland database available on WDS-PANGAEA; 164 sites are readily available under the project name PAGES_C-PEAT. Those same peat profiles have also been ingested in the International Soil Carbon Network’s database (ISCN) and are accessible on their website. These two data sharing activities took place during a "data hackathon" in June 2018, in Texas.

Stakeholder engagement

One of the tasks during the workshop is a discussion of how to best engage stakeholders, with a view of having stakeholder presence and involvement. We plan to invite experts on stakeholder engagement and expertise in peatland management to the workshop to instigate discussion on the key questions; Question (2) What are the main ecosystem services provided by tropical peatlands? Question (3) Can we use the paleo-record to quantify ecosystem service provision and how it has changed in the recent past? Question (4) Can the paleo-record inform contemporary peatland management decisions to maximise ecosystem service provision?

Further information

Contact workshop organizer Sakonvan (Moo) Chawchai, Department of Geology, Chulalongkorn University: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.