Surveys needed to access Peatland Restoration funding

Megan Lindeman

Interested in restoring your peat, or investing in land with restoration potential? Understand exactly what work needs to be done, on which areas and for what cost

Why have your Peatland surveyed?

By now, we all know of the incredible benefits that our peatlands have to offer when it comes to carbon sequestration, biodiversity and the climate. Peatlands in the UK store over 3 billion tonnes of carbon, comparable to the carbon storage of France, Germany and the UK’s forests total carbon store (Moors to the future 2019), yet they only account for 12% of the UK’s land area (Office for National Statistics, 2019).

Damaged, bare and degrading peat are carbon sources and a reduction in these highly managed, drained and eroding sites is of paramount importance in the UK’s role in assisting global movement on climate change as well as offsetting it’s own emissions. Quantifying the extent of damage to peatland areas is key to this challenge as it allows monetary value to be applied to an ecosystem which makes it something people are willing to invest in. Areas of peat of known depth being restored are a calculable unit and as such can be sold to investors who want to offset or simply invest in something worthwhile.

Can I get a grant or money to do the work?

Yes, but not in every instance. Funding to restore peat is now available from schemes such as the PeatlandACTION project. They have access to Scottish Government funding to restore damaged peat in Scotland which can now be applied for! These applications require surveys to be carried out to determine the level of restoration required by looking at a few factors and establish if funding for that area is required.

How do we quantify/survey peat?
There are a few ways in which we quantify a peatlands health and therefore restoration potential through on the ground surveying. These surveys are used for both PeatlandACTION and Peatland Code funding.

1. Peat Depth Survey
Firstly, peat depth is assessed. It is vital that damaged deep peat areas become waterlogged again through restoration as they have potential to create the most harm if ignored and left to degrade further.

2. Peat Condition Survey
Next peat condition is recorded, this is in accordance with PeatlandACTION and Peatland Code guidance (Peatland Code, 2017) and categorises the peat. These categories are relatively self-explanatory but allows a site to be mapped into areas which need most attention.

Peat condition is assessed because anything but healthy peat will only allow carbon storage and not sequestration. It must be healthy, waterlogged and restoring to capture and hold onto the carbon before storing it. Degraded, burned, grazed and eroding peat all have varying negative effects on climate and biodiversity and in turn, air and water quality.

3. Hydrological & Erosion Features Survey
At Nevis we also provide the service of surveying the Hydrological and Erosion features whilst on site which provides a detailed picture on how to best restore the area. Whichever category the peat falls into indicates the level of work required to restore it and therefore allows Nevis to calculate the approximate costs of restoration work.

4. Herbivore and Grazing Impact Survey.
Grazing pressure on peatland is a known cause of degradation, biodiversity loss and lowered carbon sequestration ability. The assessment uses a Peatland condition category which indicates the level of impact from herbivores and informs

Following the completion of all surveys and assessments, an individual Peatland Restoration Management Plan is prepared for the site in question. The Restoration Plan included considerable detail, ranging from key constraints to restoration, recommendations for restoration, including proposed techniques, materials and working methods as well as calculations of net change in GHG emissions as a result of the proposed restoration.

If you have a site that you are looking to bring to the market, or are interested in restoration potential, contact our team of experts today.

Climate Change, Net zero, Carbon Assets, Peatland, Carbon offsetting, baseline, Carbon codes, Nature based solutions, Natural Capital