The UK’s nearly 3 million hectares of peatland store three times as much carbon as forests; they provide a habitat for wildlife; and play an important role in water management.
You can find out more about our restoration projects via the list below.
Improving management of UK wildfire risk
UK Fire and Rescue Services deal with around 70,000 vegetation fires a year. They are dangerous and costly to fight, with approximately £55 million spent on them each year in the UK. Despite this, little work had been done to map, forecast or assess their impact. Our geographers worked closely with the Peak District National Park and the Chief Fire Officers Association Wildfire Group to develop risk assessment tools such as a wildfire risk map for the Peak District moorlands.
This tool is thought to have averted five large-scale fires, which would have cost millions to fight and in damage restoration. Ongoing research in the Department of Geography aims to develop the underpinning knowledge and evidence base for a UK fire danger rating system, which will further enable us to forecast times of high fire risk and limit the impact of damaging landscape-scale wildfires.
MoorLIFE was the largest conservation project of its time and sought to protect 2.500 hectares of the South Pennine moors – one of Europe’s most important areas of blanket bog.
Through stabilising, diversifying and re-wetting the peat the project took a significant step in the conservation of the project sites, protecting intact areas of active blanket bog, creating conditions for areas of inactive blanket bog to become active again and to contribute significantly to the functioning of the whole bog system at a landscape scale.
Peat restoration for Peak District National Park
Research into peat erosion and conservation is supporting large-scale programmes to protect and restore some of Britain’s most ecologically valuable upland landscapes. Peak District National Park has already invested £13 million in a pioneering model restoration programme now being adopted by national parks across the UK.
As collaborators in the Moors for the Future Partnership (MFFP), our research has provided key evidence to justify major investments in peatland restoration projects and the adoption of new approaches to monitor the recovery of carbon and water condition in peatlands following restoration.
Degraded peat moorland has the potential to cause a variety of problems for both moorland communities and their neighbours. Along with the Moors for the Future Partnership and Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire Environment Agency we are exploring the potential of upland restoration as a cost effective way of reducing flooding in vulnerable communities.
Restoring peatlands is a form of natural flood management and has the potential to provide environmentally sensitive ways to reduce flood risk and protect areas where hard flood defences are not always feasible.