Future of afforested peatlands

1 February 2018

When deciding the future of afforested peatlands, what is the most important outstanding question?

This research is part of a project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council’s Valuing Nature programme (http://valuing-nature.net/).

The project addresses the future of afforested peatlands in the UK and they would like interested parties to tell them what they consider to be the most important outstanding questions.

Please fill in an online survey here: goo.gl/yJ5Tcs  

The survey only contains two questions and should take no more than two minutes to complete. We would like your answer to the question: ‘When deciding the future of afforested peatlands, what is the most important outstanding question?’ Full details are attached but in essence we want to know what you consider to be the most important evidence needs around afforested peatlands and their future management. The scope covers both continuing forestry and forest-to-bog restoration. You can submit more than one question should you wish. 

The project has a short lifetime so we would like to request all responses by the end of 11th February 2018.

The project will have two phases and in the second phase we will ask participants to prioritise the submitted questions. We welcome as many participants with knowledge of afforested peatlands as possible; please feel free to forward this invitation to others inside or outside your organisation. Please contact us with any queries or if you have problems accessing the survey. 

Please also read what Martin Bishop, Confor Wales National Manager says:

There are many reasons stated for peatland restoration, including carbon and water storage and sequestration but as ever these stretch the truth. Whilst they do store huge amounts of both carbon and water they are in fact poor sequesters of carbon and water, simply because they are already full.

However there is huge potential to release both carbon and water if they are damaged so there are indeed good reasons to protect them. The argument on restoration is dependent on condition and there are many cases where this is beneficial and many where it will not be.

Whilst we support peatland restoration in principle we continually record our opposition to doing so where this removes forests that are not compensated for by replacing comparable forests elsewhere in Wales. All the reference documents the forest sector works to, UKFS, The Forestry act and Woodland for Wales Strategy all oppose woodland and forest losses and demand compensatory planting if forests are lost, whilst accepting that some losses are for good reasons. 

The total afforested deep peat area in Wales estimated as 18,092 ha

WGWE afforested deep peat is 11,038 ha, of which 6,592 ha are under coniferous woodland.

4,845ha of afforested deep peat is in private ownership.

NRW are actively removing forests and restoring peatland but sadly there is no compensatory planting to replace these losses and we continually ask that they do replace them. 

The forest resource on peatlands is also a source of carbon and water storage and in addition provides the raw material that supports many thousands of jobs in wales and we must preserve that resource, sadly as we all know it is declining not increasing. 

So please add your thoughts to the survey and join us in supporting peatland restoration but only if it is done in line with compensatory planting that is required by the policies and standards that WG already accept.