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  • 1. Peatland Restoration:the Irish experience Catherine A. Farrell Bord na Móna CLAD, Glasgow 2011
  • 2. Extent:• Original 17.2% (1.18Mha)• DIPM 2007 14.96%• 20% original (220,000ha) in conservation areas• Where’s the rest?
  • 3. Raised Bog: 18,424haNear-intact andDegraded; acrotelm mires
  • 4. • Mountain and Lowland blanket bog 184,000ha• Percolation mires
  • 5. Fens: 20,000ha
  • 6. Threats: turf-cutting(loss of 544,000ha of original area)
  • 7. Industrial Extraction (100,000ha)
  • 8. Afforestation(6,400ha RB; 218,000ha BB)
  • 9. Overgrazing: 7%?
  • 10. Climatic erosion; Wind farms
  • 11. Irish Restoration (Rehabilitation) Projects Total 12,500ha +• 1990s+: NPWS: Clara Bog, Raheenmore, etc. (18)• 2002+: Coillte restoration projects (35; 2,000ha)• 1980s: Bord na Móna cutaways (14; 10,500ha)• 2002+: IPCC & BirdWatch & BCI (5)• Other (6)• Northern Ireland (5)• Not including commonage framework plans
  • 12. NPWS: Restoration of SACs
  • 13. Clara Bog:31% loss ofactive area1994-2004
  • 14. Coillte Life Projects
  • 15. Blanket Bog Techniques
  • 16. Raised Bog Ready for windrowing Peat damsBrash removed
  • 17. Biodiversity Objective: To promote the role of Bord na Mónain enhancing biodiversity and to create awareness of the values of cutaway bogs through wise-use management for biodiversity and carbon Biodiversity – baseline, cutaway rehabilitation/restorationCarbon – understanding, restoring and/or retaining carbon pools and sinks Communications – creating awareness internally and externally
  • 18. Abbeyleix Bog:Degraded RB
  • 19. Mayo: 336ha ABB
  • 20. Industrial cutaway: biodiversity network, rangeof peatland habitats (not restoration..)
  • 21. ABB cutaway:restoration of peat-forming vegetation
  • 22. Carbon MeasurementRehabilitated Mayobogs: carbon sink Restoration of Abbeyleix bog: carbon store and sink? Cutaway Bog habitats: birch scrub to open water Reed-beds: carbon sink? Are we creating carbon sources or sinks?
  • 23. Carbon measurement (GHG)Peatland type Location Years of study Carbon sink/sourceLowland blanket Bog Glencar, Co. Kerry 5 SINKMontane blanket bog Glenlahan, Co. Laois 1 SOURCERaised Bog Clara, Co. Offaly 1 SOURCECutaway (bare peat) Turraun, Co. Offaly 2 SOURCEAfforested cutaway Lullymore, Co. Kildare 2 SINKNaturally regenerated cutaway Turraun, Co. Offaly 2 SOURCE(Birch scrub)Rewetted cutaway Turraun, Co. Offaly 2 SOURCERestored cutaway Bellacorick, Co. Mayo 2 SINKReed on cutaway 0 ?
  • 24. Policy and Management• Turf-cutting: compensation, stop cutting before you can restore? Clara degrading continually..• Industrial: energy policy, co-fuelling, IPPC Licensing; licensing small operators?• Afforestation: no further planting of peatland sites? more restoration in biodiversity areas?• Overgrazing: Commonage framework plans• Climatic erosion?• Other: dumping, ‘bad planning’ wind farms
  • 25. Barroughter Bog SAC: active RB decreased by 91% 1994-2004 due to turf-cutting (24.35ha to 2.38ha); area of high bog decreased from 84.09ha to 80.17ha; bogs less than 100ha more vulnerable
  • 26. Results and Observations• Will Degraded RB will get better? – restored within 30 years? Turf-cutting and the futility of efforts..• Afforested: sites do get wetter; active peat formation?• Industrial: restored for biodiversity or carbon?• How to restore industrial sites for carbon and Sphagnum – flooding vs. mosaic habitats and biodiversity• Role of monitoring to advise on future planning for restoration
  • 27. Policy Issues and Information Gaps• Restoration (positive management) essential everywhere; need strategic national plan and funding!!!• State funding or EU funding?• The role of public engagement and education e.g. Abbeyleix Bog• Future role of Strategy Responsible Peatland Management and Peat Certification (standard requirements for restoration and rehabilitation plans)• Need to evaluate results; identify info and research gaps Wise After-Use of Peatlands Guidelines• Biodiversity vs. Carbon…or Biodiversity and Carbon• More research…more funding…recognising the value of ecosystem goods and services..