Pennine PeatLIFE in the UK and Hydrology LIFE in Finland are 2 examples of the LIFE projects working to restore this priority habitat. While the landscapes differ in each country, conservationists are combining their experiences of working on similar strategies. Paul Leadbitter, Peatland Programme Manager from the North Pennines AONB Partnership, explains how the projects got together.
A new group has been launched that will exchange expertise across Europe to help in the fight against climate change and restore some of our most vital habitats.
Launched by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership in collaboration with environmental network Eurosite, the group will bring together peatland restoration experts to share the science and practice behind the work they do on sites across Europe.
As lead partner of the EU funded Pennine PeatLIFE project, staff from the North Pennines AONB Partnership will chair the new Peatland Restoration Working Group. Setting up the group is one of the objectives of Pennine PeatLIFE, and will allow experts to share scientific research and expertise as well as the practical restoration and monitoring techniques which have been developed across the EU.
Damaged peatlands release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but once restored they act as a carbon sink. Emissions from damaged peat contribute to about 10% of the EU’s total carbon dioxide emissions and as such their restoration and sustainable management are an important tool to help mitigate climate change. Restored and healthy peatlands are also important habitats for plants and animals, and mitigate against flooding by slowing the flow of water to lowland areas.
Kristijan Čivić, Network Development Manager of Eurosite said:
“Our members have been sharing knowledge between similar sites for more than 30 years. We are now looking at a different approach where we work together on a topic of joint interest.
“Peatland restoration is a topic that has gained a lot of importance in the light of the climate change discussions and is gaining importance with countries in the North-West Europe, both among Eurosite members and beyond.”
Paul Leadbitter from the North Pennines AONB Partnership, explained:
“As part of our European funded Pennine PeatLIFE project we will be working with our European partner Eurosite to bring together past and current peatland restoration projects to learn from what has gone before, share research and practice and coordinate the future efforts of peatland restoration.”
Any organisations involved in peatland restoration or with relevant research experience can contact Paul Leadbitter, Peatland Programme Manager at the North Pennines AONB Partnership for further information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Germany has committed just under €2 million (£1.7m) in funding to support the sustainable management and protection of some of the world’s most vulnerable peatlands.
CO2emissions from drained and burned peatlands equate to 10 per cent of all annual fossil fuel emissions.
Peatlands are increasingly playing a bigger role in forest conservation thanks to their extraordinary proficiency at carbon sequestration.
Re-wetting peatlands can improve management to protect climate, say
Global Landscapes Forum delegates.
In partnership with Newcastle University, Durham University, Northumbrian Water and the North Pennines AONB Partnership, a new IAPETUS PhD project: Surface and sub-surface changes in peatland during restoration: an insight into hydrological and vegetation dynamics from new technologies is now open to interested applicants. Please click here for more details.
The deadline for applications is 18th January 2019.
Living peatlands sequester carbon-dioxide, drawing it down from the atmosphere through plants and trapping it underground as carbon.
Peatlands offer the world enormous wealth in biodiversity, but without careful management of competing conservation and development objectives, the release of their large locked-in carbon reserves will lead to unprecedented greenhouse emissions and devastating wildfires,” says acting head of UN Environment Joyce Msuya.
They’re brackish and swampy, with little of the aesthetic appeal of a lush rainforest or a pristine coral reef. Perhaps that’s why we’ve taken so long to give peatlands – wetlands that produce peat soil from decaying organic matter – the attention they deserve.