Worldwide, peatlands contain up to one-third of the world’s soil carbon, which is twice the amount of carbon as found in the world’s forests. Keeping this carbon locked away is absolutely critical to achieving global climate goals. However, about 12% of current peatlands have been drained and degraded, contributing to 4% of annual global human-induced emissions (Global Peatlands Assessment: The State of the World’s Peatlands | UNEP – UN Environment Programme).
About Wales National Peatland Action Programme
The National Peatland Action Programme (NPAP) is an initial 5-year plan of peatland restoration in Wales. The programme prioritises action across the main areas of peatland damage for the combined benefit of biodiversity, decarbonisation and other ecosystem services. The National Peatland Action Programme aims to facilitate co-ordination of efforts across the territory. It also puts special focus on communicating the value of Welsh peatlands and on working with a wide range of projects and partners.
Wales’ first action programme represents a significant milestone for peatland restoration and a significant investment by Welsh Government. It provides the resources, direction and coordination to begin the process of delivering against the Peatland Policy ambition.
The Welsh Government’s long term Peatland Policy (Welsh Government Ministers Decision Report 26, June 2019) is ambitious and focusses on (i) ensuring “all peatlands with semi-natural vegetation are subject to favourable management/restoration (a minimum estimated area of 30,000 ha)”, and (ii) restoring “a minimum of 25% (~c. 5,000 ha) of the most modified areas of peatland”.
The Programme targets peatland bodies most in need of restoration as well as safeguarding those in good condition and recovering. The aim is to deliver 600-800ha of restoration per year and activity is delivered across a range of land uses on both private and public land by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and partner organisations.
In short, the national programme identifies a focus for restoration activity across six priority action themes which represent the primary areas of peatland degradation in Wales:
• Peat erosion
• Peat drainage
• Sustainable management of degraded upland peatlands
• Sustainable management of degraded lowland peatlands
• Afforested peatland
• Hyper-modified peatlands
Additionally, three cross-cutting themes provide national coordination across critical areas relating to the collective capacity and capability in Wales to deliver peatland restoration where it is needed most urgently.
• National Coordination
• National monitoring and activity capture
• Increasing stakeholder and wider engagement in peatland restoration and its value to society
Access the project’s official website here, and learn about the project’s enablers, key activities and innovations, impacts in several areas, partnerships and replicability in the Case Study Database here.