Peatland restoration experts share knowledge

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 memebers in Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park © Jari Ilmonen

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.

How the Yorkshire iCASP is supporting partners tackling flooding and peatland restoration

Healthy peatland can play an important role in both flood risk reduction and carbon storage. This was the take home message for two Yorkshire MPs who took part in an event organised by IUCN UK Peat Programme on a Pennine PeatLIFE site in Bishopdale, which demonstrated work on natural flood management and peat restoration.

The enthusiasm of Rishi Sunak (Richmond) and Julian Sturdy (York Outer) is captured in this short (4’ 30”) film by the Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP). The film focuses on partnership working for sharing knowledge and best practice. It also celebrates how academics and practitioners are working together through iCASP to use insights from previous research programmes to drive innovation and cost-effectiveness in current and future programmes of flood management and carbon storage to benefit Yorkshire communities.

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Peat Partners Share Expertise

Peat Partners Share Expertise

Finnish peat restoration project, Hydrology LIFE, will visit its twinned UK project, Pennine PeatLIFE, to share expertise and experience.

A dozen peatland specialists from Finland and environmental network, Eurosite, will be joining Pennine PeatLIFE in the North Pennines AONB on 12th March. The European visitors are keen to learn about how the project is restoring peatlands in the North Pennines, Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale and the Forest of Bowland, and how they might apply any techniques  to their own project.

During the four day visit the Pennine PeatLIFE team will demonstrate their innovative work with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Sphagnum moss cultivation (the core ingredient of peat); new computer-modelling techniques that predict the effects of restoration; and explore new approaches to paying for environmental improvements that benefit all society.

Paul Leadbitter, North Pennines AONB Partnership's Peatland Programme Manager, said:

“Here in the UK, we have world-leading expertise in peatland restoration. I’m delighted to welcome our European guests and look forward to sharing our pioneering work with them. ”We’re thrilled to be twinned with Hydrology LIFE, as this co-operation ensures that our successes can extend to other projects and peatlands around Europe and the world.”

Tuomas Haapalehto, Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland Project Manager said:

“Peatlands are major ecosystem types in both the UK and Finland due to similar weather conditions. Unfortunately, both countries have degraded their peatlands.

“Luckily, lots of experience has been accumulated on techniques to recover ecosystems during the last few years. The co-operation between the LIFE projects is a great way to exchange experiences and find the most cost efficient ways to safeguard peatland diversity and the many benefits they provide to people.”

Kristijan Čivić, Eurosite Network Development Manager, said:

“Eurosite is very happy that we were able to help bring together a group of experts on peatland restoration from all over Europe, under the umbrella of our Twinning programme.

“This visit is an excellent example on how to best disseminate and demonstrate the practical knowledge accumulated within individual sites or LIFE projects to a broader interested audience, while at the same time receiving some feedback and generate new ideas.”

Peatlands are important habitats that provide multiple ecosystem service  benefits: they are home to an array of unique plants and animals; store carbon to help us combat climate change and help filter clean water for us to drink; and can help with natural flood management.

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.