Gully blocking & revegetation:
Exploring the evidence
Mark Reed, Jim Rouquette and Dylan Young
1 Introduction
Purpose
• Explore evidence re: effects of undertaking Peatland
Code projects on different ecosystem services
• Stimulate d...
Types of peatland condition addressed by Peatland
Code (and this talk):
2 Changes in ecosystem services
(based on perceptions of previous workshop participants)
-20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20
Increase drink water qual
Peat in carbon code
WFD
Safeguard zones
Decreased AE payments
More d...
-3.0
-2.0
-1.0
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
Agricultural produce
Wild produce
Fibre and fuel
Water provision
Genetic resources
Biochemi...
3 Effects of gully blocking & revegetation
(based on perceptions of previous workshop participants)
Managed
burning
Grouse
numbers
Stream
ecology
Heather
cover
Water
Framework
Directive
Sphagnum
cover
Water
storage
Depth o...
Managed
burning
Grouse
numbers
Stream
ecology
Heather
cover
Water
Framework
Directive
Sphagnum
cover
Water
storage
Depth o...
4 Other evidence
(based on published literature)
A brief overview
Based on:
• Recent evidence reviews: IUCN Commission of
Inquiry; Natural England Upland Evidence Review
•...
A brief overview
Evidence for effects of peatland restoration on
ecosystem services
• Greenhouse Gas emissions
• Water
• B...
Burning
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Bare soil & revegetation Drains
Cutting
Gullies
Courtesy of Fred Worrall, University of D...
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Heather Grasses Mosses
Forest
Sedge
Courtesy of Fred Worrall, University of Durham
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Current GHG emissions 2030 emissions with- 2030 emissions with
out grazing/burning targeted burni...
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Take home message:
• Look over appropriate time-horizons
• Targeted action, following best practi...
Water
• Gully block/revegetation reduces sediment
production and loss of Particulate Organic Carbon
• Reduces export of he...
Water
Revegetation slows
rate at which water
runs off and reduces
flood peaks
0.001
0.01
0.1
1
0.001 0.01 0.1
depth, m
vel...
Water
Gully
blocking may
reduce or
increase
flood peaks
Biodiversity
• Depends what “bit” of
biodiversity you’re
interested in
• Healthy bogs support a
range of important bird,
p...
Other benefits
• Accessibility and aesthetic
benefits of blocking gullies
and revegetating bare and
eroding peat for
recre...
Burning
• All agree: no need for burning on true blanket bog –
questions over dry heath vegetation on deep peat
• "Weight ...
Next steps
• Best practice restoration guidelines being developed
as part of Peatland Code pilot phase – online
consultati...
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Gully blocking & revegetation of bare and eroding peat: exploring the evidence

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Presentation given to a stakeholder workshop organised by Moors for the Future in May 2014 in the Peak District National Park by Mark Reed, Jasper Kenter, Jim Roquette and Dylan Young.

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Gully blocking & revegetation of bare and eroding peat: exploring the evidence

  1. 1. Gully blocking & revegetation: Exploring the evidence Mark Reed, Jim Rouquette and Dylan Young
  2. 2. 1 Introduction
  3. 3. Purpose • Explore evidence re: effects of undertaking Peatland Code projects on different ecosystem services • Stimulate discussion and inform decisions about what might be a fair price to charge for undertaking Peatland Code projects
  4. 4. Types of peatland condition addressed by Peatland Code (and this talk):
  5. 5. 2 Changes in ecosystem services (based on perceptions of previous workshop participants)
  6. 6. -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 Increase drink water qual Peat in carbon code WFD Safeguard zones Decreased AE payments More droughts More storm events Increased wildfire Cumulative indicator score Agricultural produce Wild produce Water provision Climate regulation Natural hazard regulation Water purification Erosion prevention Recreation and tourism Aesthetic value Intellectual, scientific etc. Provision of habitat Impact on most important ecosystem services
  7. 7. -3.0 -2.0 -1.0 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 Agricultural produce Wild produce Fibre and fuel Water provision Genetic resources Biochemicals etc. Ornamental resources Energy harvesting Air quality regulation Climate regulation Natural hazard regulation Water purification Erosion prevention Pollination Pest and disease control Noise and light regulation Recreation and tourism Aesthetic value Inspiration Intellectual, scientific etc. Spiritual, ethical, religious Cultural heritage Social relations Provision of habitat Adoption of peat in carbon code Predicted impact of adopting peat in carbon code on ecosystem services
  8. 8. 3 Effects of gully blocking & revegetation (based on perceptions of previous workshop participants)
  9. 9. Managed burning Grouse numbers Stream ecology Heather cover Water Framework Directive Sphagnum cover Water storage Depth of peat Extent of gulleying Water- table Wildlife abundance Peat accumulatio n Water movement Palatable grasses Vegetation diversity Erosion Gulley blocking Water quality Bare peat Access Drainage Increase Decrease A little Some A lot Relationships related to managed burning and gulley blocking Note: preliminary data. Direct relationships Heather cutting
  10. 10. Managed burning Grouse numbers Stream ecology Heather cover Water Framework Directive Sphagnum cover Water storage Depth of peat Extent of gulleying Water- table Wildlife abundance Peat accumulatio n Water movement Palatable grasses Vegetation diversity Erosion Gulley blocking Water quality Bare peat Access Drainage Increase Decrease A little Some A lot Relationships related to managed burning and gulley blocking Note: preliminary data. Including indirect strong relationships. Heather cutting Pipe networks
  11. 11. 4 Other evidence (based on published literature)
  12. 12. A brief overview Based on: • Recent evidence reviews: IUCN Commission of Inquiry; Natural England Upland Evidence Review • Peak District projects: Defra’s Ecosystem Services of Peat project; Sustainable Uplands project; Making Space for Water • Other peer-reviewed sources of evidence
  13. 13. A brief overview Evidence for effects of peatland restoration on ecosystem services • Greenhouse Gas emissions • Water • Biodiversity • Other benefits Note: contested evidence over effects of burning
  14. 14. Burning Greenhouse Gas Emissions Bare soil & revegetation Drains Cutting Gullies Courtesy of Fred Worrall, University of Durham
  15. 15. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Heather Grasses Mosses Forest Sedge Courtesy of Fred Worrall, University of Durham
  16. 16. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Current GHG emissions 2030 emissions with- 2030 emissions with out grazing/burning targeted burning/grazing cessation, gully blocking and revegetation Reed et al. (2013) Anticipating and managing future trade-offs and complementarities between ecosystem services. Ecology & Society 18(1): 5 http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-04924-180105
  17. 17. Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  18. 18. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Take home message: • Look over appropriate time-horizons • Targeted action, following best practice – different measures in different places
  19. 19. Water • Gully block/revegetation reduces sediment production and loss of Particulate Organic Carbon • Reduces export of heavy metals • Evidence for reduction in Dissolved Organic Carbon is patchy/contradictory – Data collection too site-specific and short-term Courtesy of Mike Billet, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  20. 20. Water Revegetation slows rate at which water runs off and reduces flood peaks 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 0.001 0.01 0.1 depth, m velocity,m.s-1 Unvegetated Eriophorum Sphagnum Holden et al (2008) Water Resources Research Green = Bare peat Red = Sphagnum
  21. 21. Water Gully blocking may reduce or increase flood peaks
  22. 22. Biodiversity • Depends what “bit” of biodiversity you’re interested in • Healthy bogs support a range of important bird, plant and moss species • Both intensifying and extensifying management is likely to be bad for biodiversity – need a healthy balance, which includes active management
  23. 23. Other benefits • Accessibility and aesthetic benefits of blocking gullies and revegetating bare and eroding peat for recreation/tourism • Protecting archaeological artefacts Bronze age axe found during peat cutting in Orkney
  24. 24. Burning • All agree: no need for burning on true blanket bog – questions over dry heath vegetation on deep peat • "Weight of evidence” against burning on deep peat • Contradictory evidence exists
  25. 25. Next steps • Best practice restoration guidelines being developed as part of Peatland Code pilot phase – online consultation later this year – Menu approach, avoiding being too prescriptive where possible – Will include guidance on burning • Need to work with the landowning community • Need to generate evidence – e.g. experimental track under Peatland Code? – e.g. in this workshop on the effects of proscribing burning on likely prices charged by landowners

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