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Online workshop: Innovative Peatland Restoration Techniques

EMPEG peatland restoration webinar

As part of Eurosite’s mission to share knowledge and experiences in natural site management among European natural site managers, the Eurosite Management Planning Expert Group (EMPEG) organises a webinar on peatland restoration techniques on 3 November 2021, from 13:00 – 14:30 CET.

The aim of this online workshop is to learn about innovative techniques to restore the hydrology of drained peatlands applied in the Northern Pennines (upland area, England) and on the Welsh-English border where there are lowland bogs and fen habitats.

Projects focusing on peatland restoration deal with multiple challenges, including area hydrology assessment and restoring the hydrological and physical situation in such a way that peat forming processes will resume. Another challenge is the future use of rewetted peatlands, especially those areas currently in use for agricultural purposes, relevant in sites in countries throughout Europe, such as the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.

In this workshop we will look at the challenges at technical level. Despite being drained, peatlands are most often difficult to access with heavy machinery, causing many projects to struggle determining the best feasible techniques, materials and machinery to stop drainage. We will learn how in two restoration projects in the United Kingdom these technical challenges have been approached. The first site the workshop will ‘visit’ is the North Pennines where we will hear how the Pennine PeatLIFE project dealt with blocking drainage channels and gullies in an upland peatland. The second ‘site visit’ will be to a heavily damaged lowland raised bog located on the Welsh and English border. The site is restored as part of the BogLIFE project, aiming to restore Britain’s third-largest lowland raised bog within the Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses and Wem Moss NNRs.

Background

Peatland restoration (or peatland rewetting) is a highly effective way to cut CO2 emissions and to restore biodiversity. Although peatland restoration projects have been implemented for at least the last forty to fifty years, during which knowledge regarding restoration techniques have improved, there is always room for further innovations. The need to step up peatland restoration efforts has become more urgent as the most recent IPCC report (AR6) has shown that CO2 emissions have to be drastically reduced as soon as possible to meet the 1,5 degrees warming target.

The Pennine PeatLIFE project is carried out by Eurosite member the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Beauty Partnership, in collaboration with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership.

The BogLIFE project is carried out by Eurosite members Natural England and Natural Resources Wales together with the Shropshire Wildlife Trust. A leaflet explains what is at stake in the area and how challenges are being approached.

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