Peatland Restoration

Restoring degraded areas towards healthy, functioning peatland ecosystems

Image: Badly eroding & collapsing gully, Marsden Moor, Peak District © Penny Anderson

Peatland Restoration

Whilst challenging, peatlands that are severely degraded can be stabilised through restoration intervention and placed on the road to recovery. There are a number of heavily degraded sites across the UK where action can be taken now whilst assessing and prioritising other opportunities.

The UK Peatland Strategy highlights the following objectives to restore heavily degraded areas towards functioning peatland ecosystems:

  • Restore peatland ecosystem function and enhance biodiversity through the restoration and ongoing sustainable management of upland and lowland peatlands that no longer support semi-natural vegetation but which have:

    • remaining deep peat resource including mineral workings, deep drained, improved grasslands and closed canopy forestry plantations
    • an adjacent semi-natural peatland site that depends on the degraded area coming under restoration management.
  • Safeguard restorable peatland areas from development and land management activity that would undermine restoration potential.
  • Optimise UK carbon efficiency by co-ordinating forest management, renewable energy development and peatland conservation through planning to ensure positive outcomes for all.

To achieve the following outcomes:

  • Majority (80%) of heavily degraded peatlands in the UK are under restoration management aimed at recovering long-term security of the ecosystem
  • Recognising that initial recovery halts losses but can begin to recover function across biodiversity and carbon sequestration:
    • Intervention to repair bare peat areas, former mineral workings and agricultural/afforested areas is underway to halt peat loss and re-establish peatland habitat where possible
    • Restoration work across the UK has been delivered as a result of both private and public finance.
  • Land use development plans identify safeguards for peatlands, policies for forestry and renewables identify safeguards for peatlands
  • Good practice restoration advice is available to support effective, efficient and sustainable peatland restoration.

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.


2030 - Areas capable of restoration identified and given protection in development plans.


2040 - Sites identified as priorities have restoration plans agreed and suitable funding routes identified.

 

Examples of peatland restoration projects can be found on the Peatland Projects Map.

Case Studies demostrating peatland restoration success both globally and in the UK along with the Conserving Bogs: Management Handbook are available as publications from our Resources section. 
 

Richard Payne
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