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Moorland Restoration and Natural Flood Management webinar

Our Webinar was presented by Tom Spencer, Research Scientist at Moors for the Future Partnership. Tom gave us a fascinating presentation on how the severe erosion of blanket bogs in the Peak District following the industrial revolution has led to degradation of key ecosystem services at the headwaters of regional river catchments.

Restoration of these peatlands at the landscape-scale has led to stabilisation and recovery, with benefits including increased vegetation diversity, improved water quality, reduced severity of flooding, raised water tables and a near-total halting of peat erosion. This dramatic turnaround has been evidenced through research at experimental headwater catchments on the Kinder Scout plateau. At the start of the experiment in 2010, these were dominated by large expanses of bare peat. Now, while the untreated ‘control’ area remains bare and eroding, the treated areas are covered in a diverse, multi-layered vegetation canopy with extensive cover of sphagnum mosses. Peatlands are also a very efficient means of carbon capture adding to the overall benefits of restoration.

Tom’s presentation included a number of graphs from the project study data demonstrating how vegetation could be substantially restored in around 5 years, substantially increasing the lag time and decreasing the peak runoff flow recorded for the control area during high intensity rainfall periods and hence reducing flood risk.

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