Eyes on the Bog project, run by the IUCN, provides a scientifically robust, repeatable, low tech, long-term monitoring initiative. The standardised methodology enables individual peatland sites to be consistently monitored across the UK, creating a network of comparable sites. The initiative employs cheap, simple techniques and modern technology to enable useful monitoring information to be collected by peatland community employees or volunteers on:
– Peat subsidence and carbon loss.
– Carbon capture.
– Water table behaviour.
– Peat soil condition.
– Vegetation status, structure and composition.
– Historical context of change and current trajectories.
This suite of metrics provides reliable information which may be used to effectively inform management interventions, refine metrics for the Peatland Code, help to test long term climate predictions and inform assumptions about the condition and function of UK peatlands.
The initiative not only provides an accessible robust monitoring methodology, it also provides inspiration and support for peatland projects to engage the wider community in monitoring the condition and long-term changes of peatlands. Totemic markers installed at appropriate locations give quality assurance to established Eyes on the Bog sites and provide an opportunity to work closely with local artists, promote sponsorship from local businesses and encourage people to submit fixed point photographs, creating a visual archive of long-term landscape changes, and celebrating the importance of peatlands.
In 2017 our research team revealed that the world’s largest tropical peatland is located in the geographical heart of Africa. Over 10,000 years peat has been building up. Today the central Congo peatlands store 30 billion tonnes of carbon, requiring careful protection.
CongoPeat brings together an interdisciplinary team of leading experts to study this newly discovered yet threatened ecosystem.
Peatland Tipping Point
The Valuing Nature Programme’s Peatland Tipping Points project is investigating how changes in climate and how we manage land might lead to abrupt changes, or “tipping points”, in the benefits that peatlands provide to UK society. We will identify early warning signs (such as changes in common insects) and provide evidence about the likely economic and social impacts of reaching tipping points. This information will be used to develop options for policy and practice that can help prevent tipping points being reached and facilitate restoration and sustainable management of peatlands across the UK.
The project will achieve these outcomes using computer models calibrated with field measurements, experimental ecology, and methods from qualitative social sciences and ecological economics
We are working closely with stakeholders to identify options for policy and practice that can cost-effectively protect the natural environment and rural communities in these areas after the UK leaves the European Union.