Working together for the future of Welsh peatlands

November 28, 2019

A major programme of works is underway this season to restore peatlands across Wales.

A large proportion of the 90,000 hectares of peat soils found in Wales are in unfavourable condition, so the Welsh Peatlands Sustainable Management Scheme (SMS) project is working with a host of conservation organisations, landowners, schools and stakeholders to tackle these peatlands and enthuse and educate the next generation. Together we have been working on peatlands across the country to deliver positive action on the ground:

  • 7000 metres of eroding peat haggs are being re-profiled in the Brecon Beacons National Park, reducing drainage and soil carbon loss
  • 1100 metres of low-level bunds have been constructed on a lowland raised bog on the Dyfi estuary, working with the RSPB to restore a vital habitat.
  • 10,000 conifer trees have been felled or removed from deep peat sites across Snowdonia National Park to stop the trees drying out the peat and releasing tonnes of stored carbon.  Watch our time lapse of forest-to-bog restoration in action:

                        

  • A tonne of heather bales were placed by hard working volunteers on the Snowdonia Society’s ‘Make a Difference’ (MaD) weekend, creating dams to re-wet an area of the Migneint blanket bog in Snowdonia.
  • Low level grazing is being introduced on 85 hectares of peatland across Wales, working with private landowners and graziers to control Molinia and conifer re-generation, and supporting the colonisation of natural, peat-forming vegetation.
  • 10 hectares of scrub vegetation has been removed from a lowland peatland in Llyn Llech Owain, working with Carmarthenshire County Council to help restore the peatland’s natural vegetation.
  • 140 local primary school children in North Wales have been learning about the importance of peatlands and how to safeguard them for the future, in a joint venture with the Fferm Ifan Sustainable Management Scheme.
  • Our project staff have also been busy working with Welsh Universities and the Field Studies Council to design and run research projects and education programmes on our peatlands.

This work will help set these habitats on the path to good condition, delivering a range of important benefits to society and the environment.  Healthy peatlands help to tackle climate change by storing large amounts of carbon.  They also filter our water, help reduce flood risk, and provide homes for rare and unique wildlife. We will continue working together to deliver restoration and education across our Welsh peatlands to safeguard the future of Wales’ precious peatlands.

The Welsh Peatlands SMS is a national partnership project developed by the Welsh Peatland Action Group to help deliver the Ministerial ambition of bringing Wales’ peatlands into sustainable management, and is funded through the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and the European Union’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The three year project is led by Snowdonia National Park Authority, in partnership with Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, IUCN UK Peatland Programme, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, and Swansea University.

Dubh lochans and blanket bog at The Flows NNR near Forsinard, Caithness. June 2011 ©Lorne Gill/SNH/2020VISION
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