In February 2023, RSPB as part of the Ugie Peatland Partnership, hosted an event, co-organised and funded by Beam Suntory, to bring together landowners with peatlands in the Ugie catchment, as well as representatives from other interested parties, to talk about the practicalities and value of peatland restoration.
Peatland restoration in the area of the Partnership has been limited over the last two decades, so this event was devised to bring together the partnership and landowners to explore what restoration could mean for the peatlands sites in the Buchan area. With high attendance and engagement from the landowners in the area, as well as partners from the Ugie Peatland Partnership, this event was a huge success.
17% of Scotland Lowland Raised Bogs are located in the Ugie Catchment in the Buchan area of Aberdeenshire. There are 19 of these sites scattered throughout this area ranging from 7 to 384 ha. Unfortunately, these bogs are severely degraded due to agricultural encroachment, historical peat cutting, industrial peat cutting, and Sitka spruce encroachment from nearby plantations. Since this is such a unique and important habitat, restoring it is of vital importance not just for biodiversity, but also for water quality, flood management, and carbon sequestration.
The Ugie Peatland Partnership was set up to bring together organisations with an interest in peatland restoration in the area. Partners in the project include National Farmers Union Scotland, Scottish Water, Scottish Whisky Association, RSPB, Scottish Forestry, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Aberdeenshire Council, NatureScot and Beam Suntory helped to devise, fund and organise the event.
The meeting was held in the White Horse Hotel in Strichen, and there were short talks by Russell Hooper on public peatland restoration finance, by Andrew McBride about peatland restoration, and by Alistair Longwell on private finance and Beam Suntory’s role.
In the afternoon the group went to a nearby bog (Skelmanae) to look at a peatland restoration demonstration where a digger showed several restoration techniques like peat dams, hag reprofiling, and surface bunding, which peatland expert Andrew McBride explained in depth. There was a lot of very enthusiastic feedback from the various landowners and the Partnership have also noticed an increase in enthusiasm for peatland restoration.
For more information on peatland restoration in the Ugie catchment area, or the Ugie Peatland Partnership contact Mats De Boer, Peatland Conservation Advisor for North East Scotland here