New resource available: Explaining the impact of peatland drainage.

January 22, 2020

A new video explaining the impacts of draining peatland on carbon emissions, hydrology & peat structure is now available.

Carbon emissions from 1 hectare (about the size of a football field) of damaged peatland, where the water table has dropped 50cm below the surface, is between 5 - 15 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year1 - the same as the total carbon emissions from between 2 - 7 cars every year2. With 3 million hectares of peatland3 in the UK we must act now to restore and protect them.

The effect of peatland drainage on surface subsidence and carbon loss continues as long as drainage persists. Peatland restoration works, including drain blocking, is needed to halt this loss and restore healthy functioning peatlands. 

Measuring ground-level movements (subsidence) as well as the behaviour of the water table is vital to understand the condition of a peatland (see Eyes on the Bog Initiative for methods of monitoring). 


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This video is part of a suite of training materials produced by the University of East London and the IUCN UK Peatland Programme, working in partnership for peatlands.


Final report on project SP1210: Lowland peatland systems in England and Wales – evaluating greenhouse gas fluxes and carbon balances 

The society of motor manufacturers and traders. New Car CO2 Report, 2017.

3Commission of Inquiry State of UK peatlands report



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