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Peat Partners Share Expertise

Date: 09 Mar 2018

Finnish peat restoration project, Hydrology LIFE, will visit its twinned UK project, Pennine PeatLIFE, to share expertise and experience.

A dozen peatland specialists from Finland and environmental network, Eurosite, will be joining Pennine PeatLIFE in the North Pennines AONB on 12th March. The European visitors are keen to learn about how the project is restoring peatlands in the North Pennines, Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale and the Forest of Bowland, and how they might apply any techniques  to their own project.

Peat hag at Bishopdale, photo credit: Matt CrossDuring the four day visit the Pennine PeatLIFE team will demonstrate their innovative work with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Sphagnum moss cultivation (the core ingredient of peat); new computer-modelling techniques that predict the effects of restoration; and explore new approaches to paying for environmental improvements that benefit all society.

Paul Leadbitter, North Pennines AONB Partnership's Peatland Programme Manager, said:

“Here in the UK, we have world-leading expertise in peatland restoration. I’m delighted to welcome our European guests and look forward to sharing our pioneering work with them. ”We’re thrilled to be twinned with Hydrology LIFE, as this co-operation ensures that our successes can extend to other projects and peatlands around Europe and the world.”

Tuomas Haapalehto, Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland Project Manager said:

“Peatlands are major ecosystem types in both the UK and Finland due to similar weather conditions. Unfortunately, both countries have degraded their peatlands.

“Luckily, lots of experience has been accumulated on techniques to recover ecosystems during the last few years. The co-operation between the LIFE projects is a great way to exchange experiences and find the most cost efficient ways to safeguard peatland diversity and the many benefits they provide to people.”

Kristijan Čivić, Eurosite Network Development Manager, said:

“Eurosite is very happy that we were able to help bring together a group of experts on peatland restoration from all over Europe, under the umbrella of our Twinning programme.

“This visit is an excellent example on how to best disseminate and demonstrate the practical knowledge accumulated within individual sites or LIFE projects to a broader interested audience, while at the same time receiving some feedback and generate new ideas.”

Peatlands are important habitats that provide multiple ecosystem service  benefits: they are home to an array of unique plants and animals; store carbon to help us combat climate change and help filter clean water for us to drink; and can help with natural flood management.

Launched in October, 2017, the £6 million Pennine PeatLIFE project aims to restore a huge 1,300 hectares of bog - space enough for over 1,000 cricket matches to be held all at once. In addition to the ecosystem service benefits that restored peatlands bring to society, the project will spend the majority of the £6 million in the local economies of the North Pennines, Nidderdale and Forest of Bowland Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Yorkshire Dales National Park over the course of its restoration work.