Peatland restoration project on track to support climate recovery


As world leaders gather in Glasgow to start crucial climate change discussions, a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) project to capture and store carbon in our landscapes is already playing a key role in helping Wales to achieve its net zero ambitions.

The LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs project, funded by the European LIFE program, is based on carbon storage and environmental resilience, and is a prime example of climate recovery in action.

The project is the first national program to restore raised peatlands and all peatland habitat in Wales. It aims to rehabilitate seven raised bog sites in Wales.

The works will include improving peatland conditions preventing water from escaping the peatlands and at the same time restoring natural water levels. The project also removes invasive species like Molinia grass and small trees that take over the sites and drain the raised peatlands.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) will bring together world nations to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Climate action, building resilience and reducing CO2 emissions are just a few of the priorities discussed at this year’s conference, and these priorities are also reflected in the LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs project.

UK peatlands store more than three billion tonnes of carbon, roughly the same amount as all the forests of the UK, France and Germany combined.

Abergwesyn Common in the Powys is a huge 6,677 hectare plateau and one of the largest blocks of National Trust land in Wales with around 32% designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of ​​Conservation (SAC) and special protection Aire (SPA).

Unfortunately, the Common had large areas of deep bog and cover bog in poor condition due to overgrazing by sheep and burning.

With the support, approximately 1000 hectares of cover bog has been restored by the National Trust in Wales, as well as 600 hectares of bogs, including 50 hectares of bare peat.

Healthy peatlands can safely trap large amounts of carbon, while providing other vital benefits that help us become more resilient, such as flood prevention, clean water, and improved health and safety. well-being.

But the peatlands are in trouble. Globally, we know that 25% of peatlands have been destroyed, while in the UK at least 80% are damaged.

Unfortunately, the upland lowland peatlands are the most threatened peatlands with only 6% remaining, the majority are in an unfavorable and degraded state and in need of restoration.

The LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs project aims to improve 900 hectares (4 square miles) of degraded peatlands to make them healthier. The main objectives are to:

• ensure that carbon is stored and locked in our peatlands

• helps store and purify more water

• create conditions for rare and unique plants and fauna such as marsh moth, sundews and sphagnum (bog moss) species to thrive

• create a healthy natural environment for the enjoyment of people

Patrick Green, LIFE Project Manager Welsh Raised Bogs, said: “If raised peatlands are not in good condition, they release harmful carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When in good condition, they store carbon and absorb it from the atmosphere.

“The restoration and conservation work carried out by the project is helping to improve the condition of our peatlands in Wales and as a result we are leading the way in the fight against climate change.

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