Peatland Conservation




Image © Clifton Bain

Peatland Conservation

Early conservation to secure the best peatland areas avoids higher costs and greater risks of failure associated with repair of more severely degraded areas of peatlands. 

The UK Peatland Strategy highlights the following objectives to conserve and enhance, though restoration management the best and most readily recoverable peatlands:

  • Bring about the long-term preservation, enhancement and sustainable management of peatlands in areas that support:
    • semi-natural mire plant communities and other semi-natural vegetation on peat soils (e.g. heath) through:
      • Maintaining and enhancing a suite of local, national and international level of protected areas for biodiversity alongside wider measures to ensure the favourable status of peatland habitats and species across their range
      • Conserving functional ecosystem units as the building blocks for habitat networks
      • Preventing damage from development and conflicting land management
      • Ensure the full long-term costs of potentially damaging activity is properlytaken into account during the decision making process.

To achieve the following outcomes:

  • 95% of UK peatlands supporting semi-natural vegetation are under sustainable management for their peatland biodiversity and ecosystem function
  • 95% of peatlands are protected under relevant local, national and/ or international protected area designation types (or related designations post-Brexit)
  • Cost savings are being made through avoiding the need for major interventions • Policies are in place for peatland protection and restoration in new developments and land management change, including the prevention of intensification of artificial drainage and direct habitat destruction
  • Environmental assessment processes are designed to assess full costs to carbon, water and biodiversity.

The milestones to help monitor progress against these outcomes are:

2020 - Meet the IUCN UK Peatland Programme challenge: 1 million hectares of peatland in good condition,
under restoration agreements and being sustainably managed. Establish the current baseline and begin to define management plans.
2030 - 50% of the peatland resource is conserved in good condition.
2040 - Target (95%) is achieved.
 

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