Tweed Forum has been assisting Scottish Natural Heritage in promoting the second phase of the Peatland Action Fund, currently open to applicants until 31st October 2017. The main objective of the Fund is to restore and manage peatlands (over 50cm deep) for climate change mitigation. Peatlands mitigate against climate change by continuing to store existing carbon within the peat, if left undisturbed. They also actively sequester (remove) carbon from the atmosphere through the natural processes of peatland growth.
The Fund also works to raise awareness of peatland ecosystem services; highlighting the value of peatlands in enhancing wildlife conservation, combating climate change and assisting with water flow regulation, as well as exploring how to increase peatland resilience to the effects of climate change and encouraging innovation in restoration techniques. During Phase 1 (2011-2015), the Peatland Action Fund supported peatland restoration work at 100 sites throughout Scotland, covering 8,500 ha of blanket bog, lowland raised bogs and forest-to-bog conversions; as well as building up a fantastic toolbox of peatland restoration techniques.
Two Borders sites received Phase 1 Peatland Action Fund monies. At Whim Bog SSSI, ditch blocking took place, in addition to a peat depth survey and a tree-felling plan. The Megget area received funding for an extensive blanket bog peat depth survey (ca. 250 ha of actively eroding peat haggs identified) as well as peatland restoration including re-profiling of actively eroding haggs. Re-profiling is an ’instant fix’ method of restoration, however it isn't currently funded through the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) moorland management options, now the chief funding mechanism for peatland restoration in Scotland.
Fortunately, as we now have baseline information in the Megget area to inform future funding applications, there may be opportunities arising and we are currently working on a number of sites in the upper Yarrow. Elsewhere, ditch blocking plans and scrub/tree removal plans have been made for SSSI raised bog sites at Threepwood Moss and Din Moss. At Drone Moss, Coldingham, follow-up seedling and scrub removal work was assessed to inform the next phase of peatland restoration work there.
If you want to see peatland restoration in action go to www.snh.gov.uk/climate-change/taking-action/carbon-management/peatland-action/ and click on 'Videos and Guidance'.