Wales’ precious bogs can now be seen on a new map which will track how the habitat is recovering through conservation action over the next few years.
Vital for storing large amounts of carbon in the fight against climate change, peatlands are also home to abundant wildlife, help purify water and can reduce the risk of flooding.
Responding to climate and natural emergencies, the Welsh Peatlands Action Program has ambitious goals to restore Welsh peatlands.
Building on the work already done in the first two years of the scheme, a new grants scheme opens this week with £100,000 available for individuals and organizations to develop peatland conservation projects which could then be funded through the Wales Peatlands Action Program or other funding. streams.
Found on the Natural Resources Wales (NRW) website, the Wales peatland map is part of a new Welsh one-stop-shop peatland data portal for information on many aspects of peatland conservation, managed by NRW.
It captures the extent and depth of Welsh peatlands, including information on how much carbon they store and an estimate of the carbon they release into the atmosphere when in poor condition.
The map can be downloaded and used for free. It will be regularly updated to show an ever-improving picture of habitat restoration through conservation management.
Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “Our bogs may not look very glamorous, but they are the unsung heroes of Wales. Their restoration is vital to our response to natural and climatic emergencies. When peatlands are in good condition, they are our most effective terrestrial carbon sinks. they are home to a wide range of wildlife and plants, and even help purify our drinking and bathing water. But when degraded, they can emit more carbon than they consume and contribute to accelerating climate change.
“The maps released today will help us understand their valuable role. With this knowledge and the new peatland funding pot, I encourage groups and communities to get involved in restoring and protecting our peatlands so that we can pass on a Wales we are proud of to our future generations. .
Welsh peatlands are in urgent need of restoration due to past and in some cases ongoing impacts including drainage, erosion, habitat loss and nutrient enrichment. When drained, peatlands dry out, causing the release of carbon – accumulated in the peat for thousands of years – which adds to greenhouse gas emissions.
Clare Pillman, Managing Director of Natural Resources Wales, said: “Welsh peatland restoration work is showing signs of success, but there is still much more to be done.
“That’s where the grants come in. With most Welsh bogs still in poor condition, we are looking forward to a lot of interest from individuals and organizations across Wales who want to do a difference.”
This year’s Peatland Development Grant application window closes on July 4, 2022 and can also be found on the NRW website.
The Welsh peatland map – in the information portal developed by NRW as part of the National Peatlands Action Program – was commissioned by the Welsh Government from the Center for Environmental and Agricultural Computing at the University from Cranfield, with data in support of the Welsh Government, NRW, the British Geological Survey and National Peatlands Action Program partners.
Restoring the peatlands of Wales involves a wide range of partners – including the Welsh Government, NRW, RSPB, the National Trust, National Parks, local authorities and all the farmers and other land managers so essential to the survival of these unique places.