Carmel (New LIFE for Welsh Raised Bogs)

Introduction

The LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs project is the first national restoration programme for raised bogs and for any peatland habitat in Wales. The 4-year pioneering and ambitious project aims to restore seven of the very best examples of raised bogs in Wales. Almost 4 square miles (over 900 hectares) will be restored to a better condition. This represents 50% of this habitat in Wales and 5% in the UK. The sites have suffered due to poor wetland management in the past and this has caused invasive plants to take over, and crowd out important plants like sphagnum mosses. Plants like sphagnum mosses help to keep the peat boggy and wet and store carbon, helping us fight climate change. This project will look at new innovative ways of working to really make a difference and restore the seven raised bog SACs in Wales. Raised bogs provide multiple benefits to the environment, wildlife, and people. They are home to rare plants and wildlife, they store carbon from the atmosphere, can store and purify water and they also provide a fascinating insight into our environmental history. They are also great places for people to visit and enjoy nature at its best. Funding totalling £4million for the project has been given to NRW from an EU LIFE programme grant, with support from Welsh Government and Snowdonia National Park Authority.

Project Aims

In partnership with local communities, landowners and contractors, our work will include improving the conditions of the peatland, removing invasive species and scrub and introducing light grazing. A type of grass called Molinia or purple moor grass has taken over on some parts of the bog which have become drier as a result. This forms a dense layer and stops important plants from growing and thriving. We will be mowing and rolling the grass with a large wetland harvester machine. This will create more open areas where important bog plants like sphagnum can grow and thrive.

Restoration Delivered

In autumn 2019 the molinia grass on Carmel was cut with the wetland harvester machine (see images) The darker sections being the mown areas.
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Project Name: Carmel (New LIFE for Welsh Raised Bogs)

Organisation / Lead partner: Natural Resources Wales

Location: Carmel, Carmarthenshire

Approximate area covered: 50 ha

Conservation Status: Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), National Nature Reserves(NNR), Natura 2000

Predominately: Lowland

Peat Habitats: Lowland raised bog

Project Type: Restoration, Management, Research, Communications, Citizen science/ community engagement.

Year Project Began: 2017

Project End Date: 2023

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