Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Work to restore Wales’ peatlands beats annual target

16 Aug 2022 3 minute read
Dr Rhoswen Leonard, peatlands expert. Photo Natural Resources Wales.

Work to restore Wales’ peatlands is progressing ahead of schedule, according to a new report from National Resources Wales.

In the last 12 months over 1000 hectares, the equivalent of 1400 football pitches, was restored across Wales, comfortably beating the Welsh Government’s annual target of 650 hectares.

Peatlands, also known as bogs, mires or moors, can have a big impact on human-induced climate change if managed properly while also reversing biodiversity decline.

When peatlands are in good condition, they act as a carbon sink – locking in vast amounts of carbon formed over millennia – and they can also reduce flood risk, improve water quality, support biodiversity and have a net cooling effect on climate.

The 4% of Wales covered by peat stores up to 30% of Wales’ soil carbon.

When peatlands are damaged, however, they become a significant carbon emitter, accelerating climate change.

Unsung heroes

Climate Change Minister, Julie James said: “Bogs might not sound very glamorous, but they are Wales’ unsung heroes – especially during prolonged periods of dry or wet weather, like we have seen recently.

“When peat bogs are in a good state of repair, they are our most efficient terrestrial carbon sinks; they are home to a wide range of wildlife and plants, and even help purify our drinking and bathing water.

“Their restoration is vital to our response to the nature and climate emergencies so this report by NRW is very welcome news and I want to thank them for their hard work in accelerating their efforts to peat the target!

“We must ensure we continue to protect and cherish our valuable peatland ecosystem.”

National Peatland Action Programme Project Manager, Dr Rhoswen Leonard added: “Peatland restoration is a big growth area to address the climate and nature emergencies, so we’re very grateful to our partners, for their impressive successes in re-wetting peat, and to the innovative contractors who adapted techniques and equipment to address the challenges on site.”

Restoration of peatlands is typically done by focusing on the hydrology of an area, and through restoration works the ‘re-wetting’ of peatlands will allow their return to a near natural state.

Re-wetting is a comparatively simple solution to both increase carbon storage and re-establish biodiversity, as habitats are restored for mosses, insects, birds, and other creatures to thrive.

Farmers also play an important role in peatland restoration as they help identify the breeds, often traditional breeds, that thrive best on restored peatland and, through discussion with ecologists, establish the best stock rate for different seasons.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

This is what we like to see. Tree planting is all well and good but we need to think in terms of restoring that which has been destroyed and this is just that. Peatlands are so important and they have their own peculiar beauty. We have much to be proud of in Cymru. This land we are so fortunate to live on is so eye-wateringly beautiful (surely I am not alone in nearly embarrassing myself on a bus ride through this country after being overcome with the unfathomable beauty of its landscape?) its preservation, restoration and continuance must be our… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

No you are not alone but whilst not being overcome and in a car not a bus, I have been a regular traveller between the north and south of our beautiful land over the last 30 years and via various routes. I have lived in the north and in the south. I have seen and know so much of it. I can only describe the feeling I get when I drive throughout Cymru as a joyous calm and a richness beyond material wealth. It makes me feel fortunate to be able to say this is my land, the land of… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Oh sorry. P. S. Peat is so important for so many reasons. I forgot about that bit.

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Take the road across the Preseli mountains, past the Cofiwch Drweryn sign on your way to Llanrhystud on a sunny spring morning, preferably after a rain shower. If the view that reveals itself to you as you top the last hill before the slow descent to the coast: azure sea and sky, the green fields, hills and woodlands and the rugged Eryri mountain range, all picked out in golden sunlit highlights doesn’t overcome you, at least the first time, I would be surprised.
I share your feelings about our land.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

I can connect the view you describe going up the coast from Aberaeron to Llanrhystud. What threw me a bit was the Cofiwch Dryweryn sign as there is the rock on the A44 between Aberystwyth and Llangurig. Separately, Llyn Clywedog between Llanidloes to Llanbrynmair road. Breathtaking!

Aled Rees
Aled Rees
1 month ago

farmers doing something right for a change,are you sure?

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Aled Rees

A farming family which has lived in the higher wet land for generations will have store of knowledge on how to make that land endure. Far more than the dimwit politicians who in one year consent to ravaging the land for commercial gain and later turn around and spend more on its re-greening. No doubt some nice remote spots will soon get earmarked as storage sites ( tips, in other words) for those redundant composite blades that can’t be re-engineered into anything useful !

Stephen Eley
Stephen Eley
1 month ago

I find it difficult to understand NRW’s policy wrt peatlands in our beautiful Cymru. This article shows the entirely laudable work being done in rewetting projects, evident on visits to the Migneint. On the other hand, hideous pathways are driven across bogs such as that between Capel Curig and Llyn Crafnant, with deep drainage channels dug alongside. Surely a consistent approach could be reached?

Dafydd y Garth
Dafydd y Garth
1 month ago

When bikers joy-ride around the peat bogs of Elenydd, I wonder what is the sum total of the enviromental damge they cause. This is not a rhetorical question: i’d be interested in see reliable statistics on the topic. I suspect that the destruction of the Monks’ Path is only the tip of the ideberg.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.