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.
 

The Extraordinary Story of Peat and Carbon
New short animation explores the extraordinary story of peat and carbonExploring the extraordinary quantities of carbon locked up on millennial timescales within peatland…
February newsletter: winter edition
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2021Read the latest IUCN UK Peatland Programme newsletter.
The West Cavan Bog Association Site
Eyes on the Bog: The West Cavan Bog Association SitesTwo new Eyes on the Bog sites have been established by the West Cavan Bog Association, in Fartrin…
IUCN UK PP Conference
Reflections from the 10th IUCN UK Peatland Programme ConferenceThe 10th annual IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference was delivered online for the first time, with…
UK GHG inventory
Peatland addition to the UK GHG inventory adds 3.5% to national emissionsThe end of January saw the long awaited, formal inclusion of peatlands in the UK GHG emissions…
Peatland Code update
Peatland Code updateInterest in the Peatland Code continues to grow and the team are experiencing increased demand for…
Shetland Peatland Restoration
Getting out to the bog in ShetlandAn innovative solution to accessing a Peatland Restoration site in Shetland.
Heather burn (C) North Peninnes AONB
Defra announce plans to prevent burning of vegetation on protected blanket bog habitats.Today’s announcement from Defra that the government plans to bring forward legislation to prevent…
Deforested bog 2 years post treatment
ScottishPower Renewables winter 2021 peatland restoration activityScottishPower Renewables (SPR) have completed 1267ha of deforested bog restoration using their “…
Pre & post restoration
Microbial understanding of the resilience of peatland systems A series of workshops amongst peatland scientists, practitioners and policy makers held at the…
Volunteer group with newly built dry stone wall
Volunteer group and conservation organisations join forces to improve the health of local moorlandMoors for the Future Partnership has been working with Friends of Crompton Moor carrying out…
MFFP peat dams
Environment Agency working with Peak District partnership to slow the flow of water from the moorsIn its National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England, published in July…