Adaptive Management

Shifting management of drained peatlands under intensive productive use to deliver wetter ways of farming


Image © Clifton Bain

Adaptive Management

Some existing land uses currently rely on maintaining drainage of peatlands. Resulting negative environmental and socioeconomic impacts can be reduced by providing new products that thrive on wet peatland soils, minimising the need for drainage. This represents an opportunity to maintain farming livelihoods and generate new enterprises within UK agriculture.

The UK Peatland Strategy highlights the following objectives for adaptive management of peatlands:  

  • Improve farming practices on peat soil to slow the loss of soil carbon by encouraging:
    • Partial conversion of ploughed land to grass conversion e.g. buffer strips, field corner management etc.
    • Other practices to reduce soil and soil carbon loss in the absence of re-wetting
    • Water management to encourage higher water levels within the peat soils.
  • Develop and introduce wetland agriculture systems to the UK:
    • Trial new systems for and new ways of working that can reduce the carbon impact of agricultural practices on peat soils. This will include the trial and development of novel crops.
    • Look to new markets for products from sustainably managed peatlands and develop alternative products where the use of peatland is unsustainable. In doing this, ensure that the burden of any impacts is not exported to other countries.

To achieve the following outcomes:

  • The impact of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural use of peat is reduced through a shift to better farming
  • The distribution and extent of agricultural peat soils across the UK is maintained through the introduction of new soil management regimes and cropping systems.

The milestones to help monitor progress against these outcomes are:

2020 - Vision agreed for agricultural soils.
2030 - Early opportunities are being delivered for agricultural peat soils to bring them under sustainable
management regimes.
2040 - Vision for agricultural peat soils is delivered.
 

Richard Payne
A tribute to Richard Payne The IUCN UK Peatlands Programme team were all saddened to hear the shocking news about the death of…
Image of sphagnum in pool © Joe Holden
Sphagnum is a key ingredient of natural flood managementIn 2008 iCASP published research that showed how water running over Sphagnum on blanket peatlands…
Image of V-notch in ply-sheet dam © Emma Shuttleworth
Peat restoration and natural flood managementThe Upland Environments Research Unit at the University of Manchester has been working closely with…
Image of bog vegetation © Dom Hinchley
New edition of Conserving Bogs: The Management HandbookA new edition of Conserving Bogs: The Management Handbook is now available. Conserving Bogs: The…
Rob Stoneman at the House of Commons flanked by Rob Brown and Julian Sturdy
Managing the Uplands for Public Benefit House of Commons ReceptionOver 48 representatives from across the peatland community in the UK as well as MPs and Peers…
Large heath butterfly
Peatland biodiversity - butterflies & mothsAt Butterfly Conservation we understand the great value of healthy functioning peatlands for…
Cover of GHG emissions inventory
Inclusion of peatlands in the UK's GHG emissions inventory publishedThe long-awaited report on inclusion of peatlands in the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions…
Marsden Moor fire © BBC News
Record breaking Spring temperatures exacerbate wildfire outbreaks across the UKThe summer heatwave of 2018 was accompanied by wildfires across the UK with a major incident…
Staff from RSPB, Scottish Water and the contractor, McGowan Ltd, discuss the successful works at Moss of Kinmundy
Ugie Peatland Partnership welcomes restoration of local bogBog restoration works are expected to benefit local water quality and nature, as well as contribute…
Delgates at the policy and practice workshop
New initiative to combine data across studies and sites to better inform peatland policy and practice Researchers, practitioners and policy-makers from across Europe, whose goal is to understand better…
Peatland milled for horticulture
Moving towards a future of peat-free productsCheap, usually imported, bags of peat do not reflect the environmental costs to society caused by…