Discussion sessions - Day 3, 2022

Image: © Drew Buckley Photography

Discussion sessions - Day 3, 2022

Day three of the conference saw a series of workshops for knowledge exchange and the discussion of issues facing peatland restoration.

Room 1
Lowland Raised Bog Restoration – learnings, challenges and legacy

AM: Technical Session – Bunding

Bunding has been used extensively as a technique in lowland and upland peatland restoration projects. This session highlighted some examples of bunding being utilised as part of restoration plans, examined their effectiveness, good practice techniques, GHG impact and lessons learned.

Presentations included:
Introduction to the Welsh Raised Bog resource – Pete Jones & Jake White (NRW & Welsh LIFE raised bogs)

Importance of monitoring GHG emissions from peatlands: Cors Caron as a case study – Jenny Williamson (CEH)

Peat Bunding on Lowland Mires in North Cumbria – Emma Austin (Cumbria BogLIFE)


PM: Technical session: lowland peatland hydrology (bogs and fens)

Hydrology- both water quantity and quality- is key to restoring and maintaining healthy peatlands. Restoration work is often a compromise between peatland objectives within the site and balancing that with surrounding constraints and pressures in the landscape. This session looked at defining hydrological objectives for lowland bogs and fens including:
A) How do we define a workable bog surface datum?
B) Restoring the lagg component – can a bog ever be at FCS without one?
C) Defining lateral limits – how much of the bog should be favourable M18?
D) Landscape scale hydrology in relation to raised bogs

Presentations included:
Investigation of hydrology, vegetation and microtopography on Cors Fochno SAC – Justin Lyons

Room 2 Forest to Bog Restoration – Policy & Practice

AM: Science and Practice: Emerging restoration techniques and identifying research gaps

This session will explored key recent research on forestry and peatlands with examples from both upland and lowland study sites.  Highlighting the latest greenhouse gas data, good practice restoration techniques and how to take into consideration the impact on shallow peat soils.

The discussion explored:

  • Carbon Emission pathways
  • Data gaps and how to plug them
  • Restoration objectives carbon/biodiversity/water – timescales and techniques
  • Monitoring Protocols

Presentations included:
Forestry and Peatlands: Research Updates – Russell Anderson (Forest Research)
Forest to bog science and management in the Flow Country – Rob Hughes (RSPB & ERI-UHI)
Forest to bog restoration: Meeting the Costs – Iain Detrey (IUCN UK PP)
Forest to bog restoration in the lowlands – case study from the Fenn’s and Whixall Mosses NNR – Robert Duff (Natural England)
Restoration Trajectories in Peatland Surface Motion using Satellite Radar – Chris Marshall (ERI-UHI)
Lost Peatlands – Mike Shewring & Joey Pickard (Lost Peatlands)

PM: Policy; Moving away from trees OR peat conversations.

Recognising the need for trees and peat as two of our greatest natural carbon ecosystems, how do we deliver objectives for both without compromising one for the other? The session explored:

  • Prioritisation of removal of unsuitable plantings. How to marry peat and trees targets?
  • New trees and peat guidance: helping to inform where to establish trees and where to restore peat in England
  • Delivering the lost trees: upland scrub, hillslope woodland, wet woodlands.
  • How do we approach shallow peat?

Presentations Included:
Upland Ecosystem Options: future landscapes at a farm scale – John Ratcliffe (Specialist Advisor-NRW)
Marrying Peat and Trees Targets – Rachel Chamberlain (NRW)
New trees and peat guidance: helping to inform where to establish trees and where to restore peat in England – Mark Owen (Natural England) & Neil Riddle (Forestry Commission)
Planting Trees on Peatlands in Wales: The Rules – Victoria Jenkins (Swansea University)
Approach to Shallow Peatlands – Iain Diack (Natural England)
The Wet Woodlands Research Network: Strengthening the evidence base for wet woodlands – Alice Milner (Royal Holloway University of London)


Day 3 Workshop Speakers

Room 3
Peatland Monitoring and reporting

AM: Coordination and Leadership

This session aimed to capture the range of monitoring which is taking place in peatland across the UK, showcasing multiple examples. Discussions explored:

  • Which actors are involved in the monitoring process?
  • How to enable a cohesive approach to reporting? Who is taking a leadership/co-ordinating role?
  • What targets are being assessed as a result of monitoring?
  • How to report progress against strategic objectives at national and UK levels?
  • What is needed to meet our international commitments for biodiversity monitoring?
  • What data is being gathered and where is it being held?

Presentations included:
Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme: Monitoring the impacts of peatland restoration  - Emma Craig (Natural England)
Mapping the Jewels in the Crown of Welsh Peatlands – Kathryn Birch (NRW)
National Peatland Action Plan – Pete Jones (NRW)
Peatland Ecosystem Services Demonstration in NI – Bryan Irvine (DAERA)
Monitoring: Past, Present, Future – Joe Bullard & Lucy Elliff (Peatland ACTION)
Yorkshire’s Eyes are on the Bog – Beth Thomas – Yorkshire Peat Partnership
Wales Peatland Action: Data Recording, Gathering & Sharing – Esther Clews (NRW-NPAP)

PM: Core outcomes

Building on previous IUCN UK Peatland Programme conferences were the need for a co-ordinated approach to monitoring and the need for the community to be measuring the same attributes to allow for cohesive reporting had been discussed, this session will focus on discussing how to move towards developing these common standards. Discussions explored:

  • Moving towards common standards: Core outcomes work
  • What are the priority data gaps
  • What needs more monitoring and why is it useful
  • Who is responsible for identifying data needs and how are strategic data needs communicated to monitoring initiatives on the ground /projects/ academics.
  • How is the data best held and made available
  • What more needed in getting consistent monitoring methods, and defining peatland states to inform those doing monitoring/research

Presentations Included
Core outcomes and measures in peatland research and monitoring – Jon Walker (Swansea University)
Monitoring restoration of heavily degraded blanket bog in the South Pennines SAC: Trajectories of Ecosystem Change – Tom Spencer (Moors for the Future)
Peatland Monitoring and Reporting: Data needs and the Peatland Code – Ed Salter (IUCN UK PP)

Room 4 Scaling-up delivery

AM: Capacity and Skills

This session shared experiences from projects as to some of the barriers to delivering peatland restoration at scale, with a focus on the both capacity and skills gaps. Presentations focused on contractor capacity and will cover training and education initiatives, engaging contractors and upscaling their capacity for delivery and experiences of managing contractors on large scale projects.

Presentations included:
An ‘upscaled’ contractor base? – Anette Rumble & Rhoswen Leonard (NRW – NPAP)
Training, skills & capacity development – Tessa Levens (Peat Project Manager)

PM: Scaling up Finance

This session asked - Is the conservation sector ready for private finance? Presenters gave their perspectives on incorporation of private finance initiatives into peatland conservation and restoration. The session covered how the Peatland Code is developing, how it is integrating with other financial mechanisms and gave examples of developing projects. Discussion allowed delegates to feed in their experience of integration private finance; what have been the challenges? Successes? And what is needed in the finance sector to support the future scale of peatland restoration required in the UK?

Presentations included:
The Peatland Code: key to delivering action? – Prysor Williams
A practitioner’s perspective to implementing the UK Peatland Code – Alistair Lockett
Peatland Code – Renée Kerkvliet-Hermans


Room 5

Room 5 was open to all who wanted to submit a presentation in a less structured format for knowledge exchange. The call for presentations delivered a wide range of topics from stakeholder and community engagement in peatland projects, novel methods of mapping and data collection to the presentation of new science.

Presentations included:
After revegetation how do you justify continued investment in moorland restoration to continue the trajectory to forming active blanket bog? – Laura Flower (Severn Trent Water)
Bring stakeholders together to collectively facilitate positive management and restoration of peatland habitats – Heinz Traut (Northumbria Peat Parnership)
The Peatland Climate Action Scheme – Mark McCorry (Bord na Móna)
Bogtastic! Bringing the moors to communities around the region – Robbie Carnegie (Moors for the Future)
Monitoring Peatland Using the Internet of Things – Hazel Mitchell (University of Southampton)
AI for Peatlands – Anne Williams (Forestry Commission)
Plant Community Responses to Experimental Climate Manipulation in a Welsh Bog and their Paleoenvironmental Context – Luke Andrews (Adam Mickiewicz University)
Sphagnum Moss Provides Resilience in Restoration – Sadie Manning & Andrew Davidson) Beadamoss

Scenic Photos of Aberystwyth