Peatlands are carbon-rich wetlands which occupy 10% of UK land area. Peatland plants capture CO2 through photosynthesis. The acidic and waterlogged habitat of healthy, functioning peatlands mean that when plants die, they decompose extremely slowly and so store the carbon in the ground. Peatlands store more carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem, and in the UK they store 3 billion tonnes of carbon. However, as a result of human disturbance our peatlands are drying out, and then decomposition restarts and so they are rapidly losing this carbon to the atmosphere.
About the project
GGR-Peat, the peat restoration project, will work with natural processes to restore, and where possible enhance, the environmental conditions that lead to peat formation. Simultaneously it will develop innovative approaches to increase rates of CO2 uptake and store it securely for millennia. As part of this project, three experimental test locations will be established in representative lowland and upland peat settings: South Yorkshire, near Doncaster; land owned by the National Trust in the South Pennines; and the Pwllpeiran Upland Research Centre in the Cambrian Mountains of Wales.
Project lead: Professor Christopher Evans, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.
Find out more about the Peat Demonstrator