In September 2022, MoorLIFE 2020, the landmark project which had been the focus of much of the work of Moors for the Future Partnership since 2015 came to an end. This occasion was marked by the publication of a swathe of reports from the Science and Monitoring work conducted by the Partnership over the project’s lifespan.
One six-year study found that planting sphagnum reduces both the likelihood and severity of flooding, and that there was a 99.9% reduction in sediment generation as a result of revegetation, gully blocking and sphagnum planting combined. The study, the result of work between the Partnership, University of Leeds and University of Manchester, details, over seven parts, the impacts on ecosystem services of a range of blanket bog restoration techniques, including revegetation, gully blocking, and sphagnum reintroduction, both on bare peat sites, and those dominated by single species (hare’s tail cotton-grass, common heather and purple moor-grass). The report covers vegetation diversity; water table, soil moisture and overland flow generation; stream discharge; water chemistry and sediment generation and transport.
There was also a trial of methods of blocking these peat pipes, concluded that blocking generally slowed and reduced peak flows in large-diameter, mineral-based peat pipes. Another study looked at the causes, distribution and types of peat piping. Sub-surface water flow through peat pipes on upland blanket peat can evade current land management practices which are designed to slow surface overland flow, and is likely to aggravate flood risk and erosion rates.
A trial into whether or not bunding is an effective restoration technique showed that the construction of different bund-types has had little to no negative or harmful impact upon the blanket bog ecosystem or its designated features. It also showed that scallop and fish-scale bund-types showed the largest amount of surface water pooling.
These reports, and others from the MoorLIFE 2020 project – with subjects including the Partnership’s wildfire database report, the trial of dense sphagnum plug planting, of cutting on areas of blanket bog dominated by common cotton grass or hare’s tail cotton grass, a carbon audit, assessing the impact of moorland restoration work on local businesses and visitors and a Layman’s Report setting out the achievements of the project – can be found here.