Peatland specialists from a UK restoration project have visited their twinning partners in Finland on the second leg of a peatland expertise exchange.
Along with colleagues from the IUCN UK Peatland Programme and the Environment Agency, members of the Pennine PeatLIFE team joined Finnish partners from Hydrology LIFE to share world-leading knowledge and expertise. The twinning programme was set up by environmental network Eurosite.
Peat project members in Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park © Jari Ilmonen
Pennine PeatLIFE is an EU LIFE Programme project, restoring peatlands in the North Pennines AONB, the Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland AONB. It is co-financed by Environment Agency, Northumbrian Water, United Utilities and Yorkshire Water. During a four day visit the Pennine PeatLIFE team looked at how peatlands are restored in the different conditions further north. This followed a visit by Hydrology LIFE and the Eurosite network to the North Pennines AONB earlier in the year. The peat specialists from each country were keen to discover how differing restoration techniques could be applied on their home patch. In both legs of the exchange the Pennine PeatLIFE team demonstrated survey techniques using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
There are numerous benefits to the environment and to society of restoring damaged peatlands. They play a vital role in mitigating climate change through carbon storage, and also provide wildlife habitats, improve water quality and help to reduce the risk of flooding through slowing the flow.
Tim Thom, Peat Programme Manager at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said:
“Throughout this project we have been working with our international partners, and this has helped the teams in both countries to share good practice and learn from successful restoration work. We’d like to thank our hosts at Hydrology LIFE for their hospitality and for sharing their achievements with us.”
Tuomas Haapalehto, Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland Project Manager said:
“In our exchange visit to the North Pennines AONB earlier this year we learned a lot about the techniques used in the UK for peatland restoration. We were delighted to host the return leg of this visit and have been able to share the knowledge and success of our restoration projects here in Finland.”
Katie Aspray of the Environment Agency said:
“Pennine PeatLIFE is helping us towards the ambitions set out in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, protecting peatlands as our largest carbon store and the vast range of other environmental and flood risk benefits that peat restoration brings.”
Launched in October 2017, the £6 million Pennine PeatLIFE project aims to restore a huge 1,300 hectares of bog - space enough for over 1,000 cricket matches to be held all at once. In addition to the ecosystem service benefits that restored peatlands bring to society, the project will spend the majority of the £6 million in the local economies of the North Pennines, Nidderdale and Forest of Bowland Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Yorkshire Dales National Park over the course of its restoration work.