Black Mountains Land Use Partnership - Peatland Restoration

Introduction

The Black Mountains Land Use Partnership (the Partnership) is a collaborative venture among local landowners, graziers and relevant regulatory bodies. The Partnership promotes the restoration and sustainable management of the natural resources of the Black Mountains, an area covering over 24,600 hectares of upland and lowland habitat.

 

The objectives of the Partnership are to:

·       To improve the quality of habitats including heather regeneration.

·       To increase the area and quality of grazing land.

·       To control erosion on strategic sites.

·       To stabilise peat resources.

·       To provide a source of materials to be used for restoration works in eroded peat/mineral soil areas to improve bog condition.

·       To improve access at strategic locations particularly around turnout points to increase ease of turning out stock on the hill and improve the visitor experience.

·       To promote understanding of traditional and contemporary grazing, conservation works and other upland management practices used on the hill.

 

Description

The partnership is currently delivering a peatland restoration programme in the following sites:

Southern Erosion Scar – The scar is located within an area of blanket bog and wet heath. The scar formed as a result of wildfires that occurred in 1976. The project seeks to slow water flow to control erosion and carry out revegetation trials.

Darren Lwyd, Rhos Dirion and Blaen Nant y Gadaier – The project seeks to undertake erosion control in areas that are currently suffering very significant erosion.  Using local contractors, volunteers and staff of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, partners will restore and safeguard peat and revegetate exposed mineral soils, create footpaths, landscape gullies, implement erosion control and habitat restoration works.

 

Background Information and Funding

The Black Mountains Land Use Partnership is a collaborative venture among local landowners, graziers and relevant regulatory bodies.  Established in 2015 through the Welsh Government’s Nature Fund, the Partnership promotes the restoration and sustainable management of the natural resources of the Black Mountains, an area covering over 24,600 hectares of upland and lowland habitat.

The Partnership comprises representatives from each of the common land units covered by the Black Mountains Graziers Association; major landowners including Glanusk Estate, Tregoyd Estate, Bal Mawr/ Bal Bach Estate, Duke of Beaufort Estate, Michaelchurch Estate and Ffwddog Estate; Welsh Water, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England, Young Farmers Club and Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.  The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority provides the secretariat role and, currently provides the procurement and human resources to apply for grant funding.  It is chaired by a representative from an independent organisation.

Current Project

The Black Mountains Land Use Partnership (the Partnership), by way of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, has been awarded a Sustainable Management Scheme grant as part of Welsh Government Rural Communities-Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union.  This award allows the Partnership to implement a series of landscape-scale projects focused on three key themes: bracken management, peatland management and visitor management.  Each theme has multiple project elements associated with it.  These elements are outlined below.

1.     Bracken Management

a.     Bracken control – aerial and ground based bracken control

b.     Ground truthing and modelling data – validate and improve existing bracken control models

 

2.     Peatland Restoration

a.     Peatland habitat restoration in the Waun Fach area including Darren Lwyd, Rhos Dirion, Blaen Nant y Gadair and the Ffwddog ridge.

b.     Southern erosion scar revegetation trials

c.     Heather habitat management

d.     Develop a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) portfolio

 

3.     Visitor Management

a.     Telling the Black Mountains hill management story – education programme delivered to schools within the Black Mountain areas.

b.     Black Mountains ambassadors – Create a Black Mountains module to complement the National Park Ambassador Scheme. Ambassadors (local businesses) are trained to develop an understanding of farming and upland issues along with highlighting why the Black Mountains are special.

c.     Investing in skills – develop a rural skills programme

d.     Partnership rangers – Employ tow partnership rangers

 

The Sustainable Management Scheme (SMS) is a grant scheme that delivers under sub-measure 16.5 of the Welsh Government Rural Communities-Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union.  The SMS provides financial support for a range of collaborative landscape-scale projects that will improve the management of our natural resources and in doing so contribute to the well-being of our rural communities.

 

 

Payment for Ecosystem Services Portfolio

Funding from the Welsh Government Sustainable Management Scheme is also allowing the partnership to produce a Black Mountains PES Sponsorship Portfolio. The portfolio will be a pilot project to identify, quantify and make ‘market-ready’ a range of ecosystem services/public benefits.  The project will investigate the feasibility of bundling these together as a single Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) offer versus multiple bundled offers (bundling different combinations of services together) versus marketing single services for different potential buyers, potentially in different places at different times.  If feasibility and timetable permits, potential service buyers will be identified during the lifetime of the project. Our work in this area will align with and benefit from the shared knowledge of the Pumlumon PES SMS, Fferm Ifan SMS, Realising the Natural Capital of Welsh Peatlands SMS, and other PES projects being developed in Wales.







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Project Name: Black Mountains Land Use Partnership - Peatland Restoration

Organisation / Lead partner: Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

Location: Y Mynyddoedd Duon, Cymru / Black Mountains, Wales

Approximate area covered: 50 ha

Conservation Status: Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), National Park (NP)

Predominately: Upland

Peat Habitats: Blanket bog, Upland heath

Project Type: Restoration, Management

Year Project Began: 2017

Project End Date: 2020

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