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LIFE - Restoring Active Blanket Bog in the Berwyn and Migneint Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in Wales Project 2006 - 2011

This exciting project was a partnership between the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales, and Forestry Commission Wales with the aim of restoring active blanket bog in the Berwyn and Migneint SACs in Wales. The 56 month project was launched on August 1st 2006 and ended on March 31st 2011, with the majority of the project funding (75%) secured from the EU LIFE-Nature programme.

 

The LIFE Active Blanket Bog in Wales Project aimed to bring about an important, significant and sustained improvement in the condition of blanket bog in two Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in Wales, which in turn was anticipated to trigger complimentary work both locally and more widely. The two sites concerned, the Berwyn and Migneint SACs, are two of the most important SACs for blanket bog in the United Kingdom. A large area of blanket bog within these SACs was re-wetted through the project actions, which included extensive drain blocking and the eradication of invasive species. Additionally the management of blanket bog across the two SACs as a whole has improved as a consequence of the project actions. The project has made a major contribution to the conservation of blanket bogs in Wales, as well as across the United Kingdom through high class peer-reviewed monitoring, partnership working and advice with universities, NGOs and other peat restoration projects..

 

Although large areas of blanket bog still occur in Wales, the majority have been seriously degraded through afforestation, encroachment by alien species (such as Rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum & Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis), over grazing, drainage, and either deliberate or accidental burning.

 

During the 5 years of the LIFE Blanket Bog in Wales project, significant and sustained improvement in the condition of blanket bogs in key areas of two SACs in North Wales has been achieved. The SACs concerned are the Migneint-Arenig-Dduallt, and the Berwyn and South Clwyd Mountains. The project also promoted awareness and best practice in the surrounding communities and beyond.

 

Over the course of the project, contractors blocked 485km of artificial drains (that's Lake Vyrnwy to Aberdeen!) on 5,191 hectares of blanket bog. Of this 304km were blocked on the original target sites - more than 200km more than planned - and 181km were blocked on thirteen private farms. In addition, forestry was removed from 583 hectares of afforested blanket bog and 5,400 hectares of self-seeding non-native trees were removed. In total 5,354 hectares of blanket bog across 8,447 hectares of Welsh uplands were re-wetted. Alongside the practical work, more than 4,000 people from the local area became involved in the project through walks, talks and education activities.

 

The final report for the project will be uploaded onto the website shortly, but we can't stop here!!

 

Peatland protection and restoration is vital to ensure the future of a wide range of plant, invertebrate and bird species. Blanket peat bogs in Wales, in good condition, also provide clean drinking water, a large carbon store, benefits to farming and recreation, and possible reductions in lowland flooding. They are an incredibly important part of our environment and work must continue in Wales and across the world to ensure their protection.

 

 

Project handbook and Layman's report on the website

Now that the project has come to an end, the final publications have been produced. A technica Read More

Life Active Blanket Bog in Wales Conference

  The project conference took place on the 8th and 9th March at the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. A day Read More