Welcome to the IPCC’s DIY Peatland Management Tool Kit. This web site focuses on the current best practice peatland management techniques in Ireland. The site has been developed by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council with a grant from Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Ireland.
In the lifetime of a peatland, which can exceed 10,000 years, the peatland stores billions of tonnes of soil carbon in the form of partially decomposed plant remains or peat. High water table levels prevent aerobic decomposition and allow for the accumulation of peat. In terms of greenhouse gas management, the maintenance of large stores of carbon in undisturbed peatlands is a priority. Drainage of peatlands directly contributes to the release of the stored carbon from peatlands through the process of decomposition. Every peatland habitat in Ireland has been affected by drainage for turf cutting, peat harvesting, forestry and reclamation. These man made impacts have led to the loss of 80% of the habitat and have been responsible for releasing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to fuel global warming The need for active management to restore the hydrology and the carbon storage functions of peatlands is urgent.
Another important point to remember about peatlands is that they can help as a defence against flooding following extremely wet weather. Peatlands are like sponges. They can soak up massive amounts of water in periods of heavy rainfall and in periods of drought, release it slowly. If peatlands, especially in upland areas, are drained, then most of the water that would have been held back in an intact peatland will flow into the drainage canals, which run into streams, which run into rivers, which can at times burst their banks and run into our sitting rooms as happened in Limerick and Carlow this year. By storing the water and releasing it slowly, peatlands can help to control the amount of water flowing through a river course and avoid overloading which leads to flash-flooding.
Managing peatlands for conservation and for helping to adapt to climate change is something that we must act upon now. Despite sounding daunting, some easy measures can be put in place to help. Please note that the management practices required to restore peatlands after disturbance depend on the history of the site and the nature of the past developments. These will determine what restoration measures are required.
This Peatland Management Tool Kit provides information on management skills and techniques currently in use in Ireland. Please follow the links below.
Text, Photographs and Images © Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Bog of Allen Nature Centre, Lullymore, Rathangan, Co. Kildare R51 V293. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: +353-45-860133.