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We aim to learn how land use affects the main ecosystem services from afforested peatland (i.e. water supply, flood reduction, climate change reduction, wood production and wildlife habitats). We are comparing forestry with forest-to-bog restoration and creation of low-density peatland edge woodland.
For the three land uses:
Project work gets underway in October 2016 with 3 related PhD studentships focused on how different ecosystem services are affected by peat land use. After these finish in 2020, Forest Research will continue monitoring through land use changes.
Forestry policy relating to peatland habitats was set down in 2000. It encouraged only limited restoration because evidence of benefits was lacking.
In 2014, supplementary guidance for Scotland stated a presumption to restore habitats in protected sites, those affecting connectivity of EU Habitats Directive Annex 1 habitats and those where deforestation would reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. Elsewhere, on sites insufficiently productive for tree growth to compensate for greenhouse gas losses from the soil, it recommends creating low-density, low-intensity, 'peatland edge woodland', which retains some woodland benefits but avoids a net carbon loss. 'Deciding future management options for afforested deep peatland' gives more information.
The results of this research project will inform future review of the policy.
New project: Creating sustainable forested peatlands
Recent book: Peatland Restoration and Ecosystem Services
Project in progress: Carbon accumulation and loss in afforested peatlands
Peatbog restoration trials: Rewetting cracked peat
News about Peatland restoration in Wales
Forestry policy for Peatland habitats in Scotland
Woodlands and peat in Wales
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