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. 
 

Sphagnum moss harvesting at trial site, Greifswald Mire Centre © Tobias Dahms
Wet agriculture - a tool in the climate action toolboxWith the urgent need to reduce our carbon emissions wherever possible, complimenting traditional…
Money for peatland restoration
Budget announcements for UK peatland restoration Peatlands received a welcome funding boost in the UK Budget 2020.  In a move to support the…
Peatlands in the EU post CAP
Peatlands in the UK beyond Common Agriculture Policy (CAP)The IUCN UK Peatland Programme continues to feed into the international peatland agenda, recently…
Afforested peatland restoration at Forsinard  © Neil Cowie/RSPB
Peatland & Trees position statement releasedThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme have released a position statement and recommendations on Trees on…
Caithness Wildfire, 2019 © Paul Turner
Burning & Peatlands Position StatementThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme have updated our position statement on Burning and Peatlands which…
Dubh lochans and blanket bog at The Flows NNR near Forsinard, Caithness. June 2011 ©Lorne Gill/SNH/2020VISION
Scottish Budget 2020-21The Scottish Government announces £20 million for peatland restoration and a commitment to invest £…
Land use: policies for a Net Zero UK CCC report
Committee on Climate Change Report on Land Use: Policies for a Net Zero UKThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme welcomes strengthened policy and legislative recommendations in the…
Multiple effects of peatland drainage
New resource available: Explaining the impact of peatland drainage.Illustrating the multiple effects of peatland drainage including implications for carbon emissions…
Managed burning of heather © North Pennines AONB
A burning issue: comparison between Australian & UK fire management misses the mark. The news of the ongoing Australian fires is deeply concerning both in terms of the impact on people…
IUCN Resolution 43 reporting
IUCN Resolution 43 reportingNew report on progress under IUCN Resolution 43: Securing the future of global peatlands available…
Langlands Moss Restoration works underway
Langlands Moss Restoration works underwayLanglands Moss Local Nature Reserve, on the south edge of East Kilbride, Scotland is set to be…
Snowdonia Society volunteers creating heather bale dams on the Migneint, Snowdonia. © Dan Struthers Photography
Working together for the future of Welsh peatlandsA major programme of works is underway this season to restore peatlands across Wales. A large…