Lake Vyrnwy (Breathing LIFE into Welsh blanket bogs)

Introduction

Practical restoration work at two Special Areas of Conservation in mid-Wales has aimed to bring the blanket bog in these two locations into favourable condition. Work has included a combination of ditch blocking, plantation forestry removal and the extraction of invasive, non-native plant species.

Description

It is estimated that 70,000 ha of deep blanket peat soils occur in Wales, although probably more than 10% of this no longer supports blanket bog vegetation. The LIFE Active Blanket Bog in Wales project aimed to achieve significant and sustained improvement in the condition of blanket bogs across key areas of two Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in mid-Wales:

  1. The Berwyn and South Clwyd Mountains SAC (27,221 ha)
  2. The Migneint-Arenig-Dduallt SAC (19,968 ha). 

The primary problems affecting the condition of blanket bog in the project areas included drainage ditches, forestry plantations, inappropriate grazing levels and encroachment by non-native species. In addition to practical restoration work, the project wanted to increase the knowledge and understanding of blanket bog habitats in order to improve their future management.

Restoration Delivered

This project has been successful at many levels, changing attitudes locally and bringing blanket bogs and their importance to the notice of decision makers and policy makers. The combination of practical work on a landscape scale, supported by rigorous monitoring and cutting edge science has enabled this high profile project to help inform policy across the whole of Wales and has contributed to the understanding of this ecosystem on a UK and international platform.

Site Activity

The moorlands of Wales are a significant part of Welsh cultural heritage. Working with the local farming community was of particular importance to this project as this was the first time practical upland restoration work had been carried out in the area. Farmers were invited to visit the project in conjunction with an extensive programme of community events, such as guided walks and talks, attendance at local shows and a large school education programme. Initially there was considerable unease about the management programme, however towards the end of the project a significant shift in perception was observed.

The LIFE project has been successful in restoring significant areas of important habitat, developing skills, refining techniques and gaining the interest and support of the local community. The project far exceeded its targets for restoration work, rewetting a total of 7,200 ha of upland habitat. In total 485 km of grips were blocked, 249 ha of forestry plantation was removed and non-native plant species were removed across an area of 6,300 ha. Furthermore, the associated scientific knowledge gained during this project has also helped add to the understanding of moorland management and its effect on climate. Farms in the catchment also produce organic wool, and organic Welsh black beef and Welsh mountain lamb. As well as being used as a conservation tool for habitat management purposes, sheep and cattle form the basis of a commercial farming operations, which contribute to the local economy.

Partners

  • Countryside Council for Wales
  • Forestry Commission.
{"zoom":15,"lat":52.7634811,"lon":-3.4667921,"markers":{"0":{"lat":52.76065288,"lon":-3.45874552}}}

Project Name: Lake Vyrnwy (Breathing LIFE into Welsh blanket bogs)

Organisation / Lead partner: RSPB

Location: Lake Vyrnwy, Wales

Approximate area covered: 5479 ha

Conservation Status: Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA), Nature Reserve (NR)

Predominately: Upland

Peat Habitats: Blanket bog

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

Year Project Began: 2007

Project End Date: 2011

MFFP image
Peak District study reveals depths of carbon stored in threatened landscapesWith the UN Climate Conference (COP26) being held in Glasgow in under one months’ time, a new study…
WaterLANDS logo
WaterLANDS: New European Green Deal project launched to lead largescale restoration of European wetlandsAn ambitious project has been launched to tackle largescale restoration of Europe’s wetlands, with…
A detail from the map indicating areas of the highest carbon potential (in red) derived from the peat motion map covering the period 2016-21.  Potential carbon savings and their market value per annum are indicated for the different areas highlighted.
Satellite Map Identifies Peatland Areas where Restoration has the Greatest Carbon ImpactPeatland organisations and experts from across the globe have joined together to pledge their…
Peatland Pavilion concept
Peatland Pavilion will feature at UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)The Peatland Pavilion will provide a hub for highlighting the important role that peatlands play…
Bord na mona
United Nations recognizes major Irish Peatland Restoration initiativeDianna Kopansky of the United Nations Environment Programme has recognised the initiative led by…
GPI logo
Open call! Your opportunity to participate as a Contributing Author for the GPI’s upcoming Global Peatlands AssessmentThe Global Peatlands Initiative are currently looking for Contributing Authors (CAs) to participate…
Peatlands Are...
Reflections from Bog Day 2021This year's Bog Day was celebrated around the world on Sunday 25th July - bringing peatlands to the…
Power Station image
UK invests over £30m in large-scale greenhouse gas removalWe are delighted to support this project which will investigate the management of peatlands to…
IUCN UK PP Conf 21
Conference 2021 Registration OpenSign up for this year's IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference ‘Peatlands in Partnership: a road to…
Butterburn flow
Nature for Climate Peatland Grant SchemeInformation about the scheme to restore English peatlands and how to apply for funding.
IUCN UK PP Conference 2021
IUCN UK PP Conference 2021 - Save the dateSave the Dates: 13th - 16th September 2021
Minister Poots pictured with Jennifer Fulton, CEO of Ulster Wildlife
Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy ConsultationEnvironment Minister, Edwin Poots has launched a public consultation on the draft Northern Ireland…